(Image: Rachel from Cupcakes Take The Cake under CC 3.0)
America’s obesity epidemic is widely considered at least partly to blame for rising health insurance costs. So why not include some attempts at preventative measures in the health bill?
At least, that’s what Democrats thought. After similar laws in New York City and California, chain restaurants with more than 20 locations nationwide are now required to post calorie counts on their menus for all regular items. The Food and Drug Administration will set a new standard. Vending machines will also be subject to the regulation.
Many chains already offer nutrition information, but it is often hidden in a far-away poster, pamphlet, or on their website. Supporters believe that the new standard will help people make better food choices as they order, while opponents are skeptical of its effectiveness. Moreover, it is yet another example of increasing government involvement. While obesity is associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease–which make health insurance plans more expensive due to the cost of treatment–is this approach too reminiscent of a nanny state?