A study released Jan. 19 by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy found that residents in California are more likely to stumble upon a fast food eatery than a grocery or produce store.
According to the results, Californians are four times more likely to find a place that serves fast food than they are to finding a market. As a result, this conclusion is being tied to the growing tides of obese children and adults in the country as well as an overall statement that consumers’ choices are somehow limited by this gross ratio.
The problem with this study and all others like it is not so much in the actual results, but the generalizations that researchers and health experts make in pushing their own agendas, which is that fast food companies are partially to blame for the expanding waistbands of Californians and the rest of America.
The argument that there are less choices because there are more fast food restaurants than there are grocery stores, is ridiculous. The reason why there are not more grocery stores is because grocery stores house an incredible selection of foods and most people only frequent grocery stores on a weekly basis.
Essentially, building an Albertsons in one shopping center and then a Stater Bros. in the shopping center across the street does not make sense because the two stores essentially sell the same items (at slightly different price points). The same cannot be said for fast food joints that sell different fair.
This is why developers can put a Taco Bell, Burger King and Carl’s Jr. in one shopping center and across the street, put in a McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Del Taco. The food is different. It does not mean people have less choices because everyone has the choice of going to the grocery store and making their own food rather than buying it already made.
The idea that somehow, people in the state of California are being forced to eat at fast food places is ridiculous. The reason for growing numbers of obese people is the difference between being lazy and buying meals from fast food places or taking the initiative to make your own food for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
It’s a personal choice – not some sort of corporate takeover.
According to the study, the retail food environment index for Los Angeles County was 4.6 (meaning people were 4.6 times more likely to encounter a fast food or convenience store than a grocery store). San Bernardino residents were 5.72 times more likely to encounter a fast food place.
In wealthy Marin and Santa Cruz Counties, the residents were 1.85 and 1.84 times likely to run into a fast food place. Naturally, imagine how easy it will be for people to say that the rich are not being targeted as much as middle and lower income groups with fast food. This, of course, is ridiculous – along with the notion that Americans are fat because fast food companies made us that way.