I am a native Mississippian, so I am accustomed to the state being near the bottom of all states in many categories: education level, income, and other important measuring sticks for a population. Another distinction Mississippi holds is that its people are among the fattest in America. Obesity is a problem in Mississippi and other states, and it is important for leaders in health and education to promote healthier lifestyles.
With all of that said, state lawmakers in Mississippi have done little to overcome negative associations about the state. A bill was introduced recently in the Mississippi House that would prohibit restaurants from serving obese customers. Yes, I said prohibit! One of the bill's sponsors said his intent was to call attention to the obesity problem and that he did not expect the bill had a chance of becoming law (which it does not). But, the prospect of government telling businesses which customers they can and cannot serve is scary. People should be free to choose whether to enter into a business relationship with a seller of a product or service. Likewise, sellers should have freedom of choice when it comes to their exchange partners (i.e., customers).
While I side with restauranteurs and their clientele with hearty appetites, I also believe that the food industry, whether it be packaged good marketers or restaurants, should take steps to promote responsible consumption. Otherwise, the food industry will be regulators' and trial lawyers' next tobacco industry. Link
Labels: Marketing and Public Policy