by Kevin Coupe

It is impossible for me to resist a story that starts like this one, from the Washington Post:

McDonald’s and Pizza Hut just joined a club once reserved for smoke shops and sex stores.

What????

The story says that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has “announced a plan to ban them -- and all fast-food joints -- from opening near London schools.” The goal is to address what locals see as the epidemic proportions of the obesity crisis, and respond to studies that blame salty, greasy, fast food. For example, there was a 2009 study that “found that students who go to school within walking distance of a fast-food outlet drink more soda, eat fewer fruits and vegetables, and are more likely to be overweight than students who do not.”

According to the Post story, “Effective fall 2019, the policy would block new fast-food restaurants from setting up shop within a quarter-mile of primary and secondary schools. It would also require all new fast-food outlets to adhere to minimum nutrition rules … It will apply to all new establishments that sell hot foods to go, from corner fish-and-chip shops to major multinationals. It also would mandate that all new fast-food spots, regardless of their proximity to schools, adhere to the city’s Healthy Catering Commitment -- an otherwise voluntary initiative that encourages restaurants to adopt healthier cooking methods and menus.”

The policy will become permanent after a two year period during which the public can comment on its implementation and impact.

The story also makes the point that “as the first major city to propose such a ban, London could well inspire similar policies elsewhere.”

It might not … but if it does, it could be an Eye-Opener.