Subsidize green veggies, slaughter big sodas, and steal candy from babies? These kinds of government policies intended to promote healthy eating are A-OK with most of the American public, it turns out. A new poll from Harvard’s School of Public Health found that people “were surprisingly positive about these new public health laws,” as NPR reports, with big percentages in favor of encouraging exercise, making fruits and veg affordable, pushing for healthier restaurant choices, and banning use of food stamps to buy unhealthy foods.
From NPR’s The Salt blog:
“We clearly saw that the more coercion was involved, the more people you lost,” says Michelle Mello, a professor of law and public health at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was a co-author of the study. It was published in the March Health Affairs.
The researchers were surprised to find that people with health problems like obesity and diabetes didn’t object to new laws targeting them.
“We thought that people who felt like targets would be much less likely to support them,” says Stephanie Morain, a graduate student in ethics who co-authored the study. “That wasn’t true.” …
But though people are pretty supportive overall, the results make it clear that they’re more likely to buy in if they feel like public health officials understand their values, and they have a voice in the process. “If people feel like they’re engaged in the policy-making process, they’re more engaged across the board,” Mello says.
The poll found interesting racial differences: Blacks were two to four times more likely to support government intervention than whites, and Hispanics were more supportive than whites too.
Who was least happy about being told what to do by The Man? Older white men, of course! I mean, I coulda told you that.