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Should Food Stamps Pay for Fast Food?

Wednesday, 15 Jun 2011 07:45 AM

The city of Louisville faces a long fight against its obesity epidemic, as a corporation lobbies for the right of residents to pay for fast-food meals with food stamps, reports the New York Times.

Dozens of fast-food signs dot a 2.8-mile stretch of Broadway that is sandwiched between low-income neighborhoods. Yum Brands, owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, wants people to be able to use their food stamps to pay for the fast, convenient processed foods these chains churn out. Six in 10 Louisville residents, meanwhile, are grossly overweight.

“It turns my stomach, the push for using food stamps for fast-food purchase,” said former Louisville health department director Dr. Adewale Troutman. “It makes the unhealthy option the easier one.”

The national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is spending $500 million nationwide to combat obesity, and has given $740,000 to help the Kentucky city’s initiatives. Louisville has received another $8 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city’s strategies include making sidewalks more walkable, encouraging businesses to stock healthier food, turning vacant lots into recreation areas, and creating bicycle lanes.

“For businesses, a healthy work force is more productive and less costly, so it became a competitiveness issue,” former Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “Every city was offering tax incentives, every city was offering real estate deals, but not every city had the weight problem we do.”

To read the complete New York Times story, Go Here Now.


© HealthDay

 
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