Health Aspect of Drive-thrus in relation to our current obesity crisis
in North American society, including Canada, which has reached
unprecedented obesity rates, particularly in children.
As a predominantly North American phenomenon, the drive-through
culture has been widely maligned as a major cause of obesity. In a
2004 issue of American Journal of Preventative Medicine, a study found
that an extra 30 minutes in the car each day translates into a 3
percent greater chance of being obese. A Washington Centre for Law and
Public Health paper (2006) addressed the use of zoning to restrict
access to fast food outlets as a strategy to reduce obesity. The cost
of acquiescing on this issue is enormous. Furthermore, it is our
responsibility as a city, as adults, as caregivers, to protect
children, who are the most vulnerable in our society – completely
dependant upon adults and adult decisions, from such detrimental
Until we find the political will to place a moratorium on drive-thrus
(which hopefully we will see happen first in London resulting in a
domino affect across Canada & then the globe) to mitigate against
climate change and pollution, we must, until this time, take the
necessary precautions. These health impacts must be a consideration
in all aspects of zoning and planning by-laws.
Council of Canadians | London Chapter
THE CITY PLANNER’S GUIDE TO THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC: ZONING AND FAST FOOD
Childhood Obesity – the Fastest-growing Cause of Disease in Canada
Over the last 25 years, we have witnessed an alarming rise in the
proportion of overweight and obese children. Obesity rates among
children and youth have nearly tripled during this. It is an issue
that affects children everywhere in Canada – across the country and
across diverse populations.
The economic costs are also significant. Direct and indirect costs
associated with obesity have been estimated at $4.3 billion in 20011.
Childhood obesity is a particular concern because excess weight over
time increases the risk of developing chronic health problems.
Obesity is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease and
stroke, as well as for type 2 diabetes. Unhealthy weights, combined
with risk factors such as age, family history and the presence of
other health conditions, such as high cholesterol or high blood sugar
levels, can greatly elevate the risk of developing a wide range of
chronic diseases including:
hypertension or high blood pressure;
coronary heart disease;
type 2 diabetes;
sleep apnea and other breathing problems;
some cancers such as breast, colon and endometrial cancer; and
mental health problems, such as low self-esteem and depression.
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