In a culture where excuses are consistently made for obesity, game shows revolve around helping people go from one weight extreme to another and shock-n-awe programming is developed to watch people being cut from their homes and transported to hospitals for what could be life-threatening or life-saving surgery, will posting caloric information on vending machines really help curb Americans’ poor eating habits?
There are a number of reasons why an otherwise healthy person might grab a quick snack from a machine filled with junk food; however, regardless of the justification for its use, most people are aware that vending machine fare is not a healthy choice. Posting calorie information is not a deterrent to someone who chooses an unhealthy diet nor is it necessary information for someone who is in a situation where a bite of unhealthy grub is better than none at all.
Perhaps, terminating the existence of vending machines would put a dent in the obesity problem, but that would then put honest, hard-working Americans out of business. Why not put fresh fruit in the vending machines? Well, then the cost would increase exponentially since the items would have to be checked and changed out daily and quite a bit of product would go to waste.
Interestingly, however, the calorie count law might also put some out of business. The government is not footing the bill for re-vamping all the machines, the owners are. And for what monetary benefit to them? None, other than the right to continue operating their minimally profitable, junk food business.
The justification for this health care provision – to give Americans the means to make healthier choices – simply doesn’t play out. The hope is that such information will result in a noticeable more health-conscious citizenry thus reducing the country’s overall health costs. However, the same tactic was used in the fast food industry and it was easily determined that Americans will eat what’s available not necessarily what’s good for them.
Those who are concerned about the calorie count and other health-related information will do their homework and make informed choices in advance, not at the fast food counter and certainly not while dropping coins into the vending machine.
Our supply and demand culture demands access to junk food. There is very little demand for nutrition information along with junk food, so why supply it? A simple warning sticker stating “chips and cookies are not good for you” would be cheaper and serve equal purpose.