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Ban kids from eating junk food, MP demands

The Local · 23 Jul 2010, 07:59

Published: 23 Jul 2010 07:59 GMT+02:00

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One day after a coalition colleague called for overweight people to pay more towards healthcare, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) health spokesman Erwin Lotter pushed the issue a step further by demanding a clampdown on junk food.

“The problem is and remains our children’s overeating,” Lotter told daily Bild. “There should be prevention of children under 16, in particular, eating fast food products. The question must seriously be posed, whether parents can really handle this on their own or whether politicians, as a last resort, respond with legislation.”

On Thursday, Marco Wanderwitz, a federal MP from the state of Saxony, said overweight people and others who pursue unhealthy lifestyles should have to pay more into Germany's healthcare system to cover the extra costs they create.

“The question must be admitted whether the immense costs that, for example, arise from excessive consumption of food, can be permanently paid out of the consolidated health system,” he told Bild. “I think it’s sensible that people who knowingly live unhealthily carry a responsibility for it in a financial respect.”

Health spokesman for the conservative Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group, Jens Spahn, acknowledged it was not possible to set up some kind of health police who watched what people were eating and punished them accordingly.

However he said: “Strengthening the personal responsibility of health insurers’ members is a clear goal for the coalition.”

The environmentalist Greens slammed the plan as “discriminatory and anti-social,” pointing out that people with particular jobs had a higher rate of health problems.

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“The stress experienced by politicians and managers brings a higher risk of heart attack,” the party’s parliamentary leader, Volker Beck, told daily Handelsblatt.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:02 July 23, 2010 by reprap
I always think its funny when they refer to fastfood the German Media always refers to McDonalds when Bratwurst and Kiosk Stands are never mentioned.
09:16 July 23, 2010 by duckys
What is next in the headlines... "McDonald's worker was stabbed in the throat as he told the boy he was to fat and can't eat here..." Politicians should really consider keeping there thoughts to themselves...
09:34 July 23, 2010 by pepsionice
The curious thing here...is that you can go to some pretty rural areas of Germany....where there's no McDonalds for at least twenty miles.....and walk through a village of 1,000 folks....to find fifty kids under sixteen who are extremely overweight. The odds of these kids eating even twice a year at McDonalds....maybe less than twenty percent. Attacking just fast food doesn't work.

And if you walk around a town and look at adult women between twenty and thirty....around forty percent are pushing the heavy scale....and I seriously doubt that they visit McDonalds or fast food restaurants that much.
09:59 July 23, 2010 by moistvelvet
I like the occasional Burka King, but I know I shouldn't. Also I know that children shoud be discouraged from eating fast food, but I don't agree that they should be forced by law.

As the OP says, what about bratwurst and the like, they are almost as bad but don't seem to have the stigma attached to it.
10:12 July 23, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
How about some "Hope and Chains"? There is so much cheese here in. It is pure fat! If I want to be fat, it's my choice! We are not royal subjects!
12:40 July 23, 2010 by freechoice
Don't take away my KFCs!

It's such things that make me feel at home living in Germany....
14:21 July 23, 2010 by NYsteve
The key to this problem is simple....EDUCATION. Here in the Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York area, restaurants are required to post the nutritional information (calories, fat content, sodium,etc) so you know that when you buy a Big Mac it is 700 calories, which most people did not know. Having an occasional burger, KFC, bratwurst is not a problem so hopefully there won't be any 'Fast Food Cops"...."Halt....put the burger down and your hands in the air and no one will get hurt!"...if we educate our children, teach them to cook...a forgotten art it seems....we should be OK.......
15:06 July 23, 2010 by romber58
Even after many years in Berlin I still cannot understand how German people expect and accept bans and Verbots as the answer to problems.I suppose that their willingness to be subservient to what they call"Die da oben" is ingrained in them from birth.Many refer to themselves as "Die kleine Leute" without a hint of irony.

They complain and complain but just wait for the"Vaterstaat"(another telling phrase) to regulate their lives.
15:17 July 23, 2010 by LancashireLad

You have hit the nail on the head. The German people expect rules and regulations .. but when did you see any of these seemingly petty rules actually being obeyed? Purely because they are petty, the Germans see them as inefficient and "not for them" and just plain ignore them. Not long after moving here I commented to my (German) wife that people here seem to live their lives by the maxim of "I will the obey the rules I want to .." and she somewhate reluctantly agreed. the politicos cna try to furhter regulate things here but it will just be ignored as it can't be policed.
15:31 July 23, 2010 by ReaderX
Well here we go, another brilliant idea by the German government.

romber58 you did indeed hit the nail on the head. And why should a parent teach their children right from wrong and healthy eating choices when the government can do it for them. Not only is there a huge problem with obesity here, but it's generally those same parents who do the minimum when it comes to being involved with their kids who are also over weight and have children the same.

I also agree that it is a shame so many people attack MCD's when there are tons of other foods that are just as bad. The whole imbiss industry is made up of unhealthy foods.

But none of this is the real problem, which is how can the government support and sustain a program that has more people drawing out of the pot than is putting into it. The whole notion of universal health care and everyone has a right to it, even if it is on someone else's euro.

Imagine if you actually had to pay for your insurance without matching funds from another party ( be it a job or the gov.) then of course if those same insurers could compete based on the actual health of the customer. More people would live healthy lifestyles. But this would defeat the opportunity for the Government to take money from companies and the people.
16:17 July 23, 2010 by marimay
Now I want a hamburger. Thanks!
16:57 July 23, 2010 by romber58
Yea ReaderX and Lancashire Lad and thanks for expanding on my comment.
17:04 July 23, 2010 by fritzwiz
To "freechoice" : If you are so home sick for KFC why are you in Germany? Go back home. The fast food industry has turned the United States into a nation of fat slobs waddling about stuffing food into their mouths no matter where they are or what else they are doing. Save yourselves and destroy the damn things now, like the citizens going after the monster in the film "Frankenstein".

17:24 July 23, 2010 by romber58
He Fritzwitz ,I cant answer for" freechoice" but did you ever consider the possibility that he was being ironic ??
17:28 July 23, 2010 by michael4096
@LancashireLad - the germans seem to treat process, legal and other, with a sort of unwritten understanding: if it's thought about sensibly and works well they follow almost blindly but if they feel that it is poorly arranged then they feel free to ignore it. It is rare to see a german breaking the rules because he feels like it but when a rule is deemed unworthy then it is ignored by all. One reason why pedestrians will stop on a red man even though there are no cars but ignore blanket speed limits.

This is different to the attitude of other societies to rules and regs but I don't see it as less worthy in any way.
17:34 July 23, 2010 by sorochin
"First they came for the smokers and I did not speak up because I didn't smoke.

Then they came for the fat people...."
17:42 July 23, 2010 by Jasmine33
Actually, didn't the hamburger originate in Hamburg, Germany, therefore the term hamburger? Just as the frankfurter originated in Frankfurt, Germany. However, I doubt that when these foods had their origins they slathered on all the condiments that are slathered on nowadays. But, the hamburger in itself is not a bad food as you have the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and sesame seeds (if you choose), as well as pickles. It's the mayo, mustard, salt and ketchup, plus the buns sometimes greased up that makes it so fattening. Low-fat cheese would be better if restaurants were willing to use that instead. I also believe using chuck ground beef instead of regular hamburger would cut down on the fat content of the meat used. Some hamburger restaurants in the US are now offering burgers made with Black Angus; don't know if it's leaner.

I don't see how well it will go over trying to restrict kids under 16 from eating at fast-food restaurants. Are they going to have fast-food police? Don't people 16 and over matter or will they just be forsaken as unfortunate victims of the nasty fast-food garbage from the US?

I've read where goat meat is being eaten more and more around the world and that it is a lot lower in fat and cholesterol than beef. I'm afraid it will take a long time though for it to ever catch on to replace beef in burgers. I had Cabrito (kid goat) once and it was not bad, a little sweeter and gamey tasting than beef. Recently I read where goat meat was high in demand but not enough supply. Cooked right it's not bad.
18:52 July 23, 2010 by romber58

Nice point ,but do you notice that everyone looks at the red or green light and will either stop or go acording to the colour instead of taking responsibility and first looking out for the cars which may kill them.

If they are injured or even killed when a car ignores green then at least they can be sure that they are in the right and that is the most important thing in Germany
21:32 July 23, 2010 by claudegaveau
I won't hear a bad word said about a Doner Kebab with the holy trinity of sauces applied. Beats MCD any day of the week. Maybe just as unhealthy, but at least it tastes a hell of a lot better.
21:48 July 23, 2010 by romber58
@ claudegaveau

You are absolutly right

Kottbusser Damm at the corner of Paul-Linke Ufer

where Bilke supermarket used to be...the best
23:21 July 23, 2010 by JAMessersmith
Just what we need... the government telling us what food we can and cannot eat.

Just try taking away burgers, brats, doner kebab, and beer and see what happens. It would be like the French Revolution all over again.
00:14 July 24, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, the high cost of health insurance is a problem for many countries now days. Cancer, heart disease and diabetes are illnesses that are mostly due to unhealthy foods.

There are actually simple solutions to almost all of humanity's problems. It all comes down to whether or not the wise and educated take on the responsibility to leadership.
01:18 July 24, 2010 by sorochin
Uh oh, someone who claims to represent "Logic" and positing simple solutions if we'll just obey our betters. Haven't we seen this movie before and doesn't it end badly?
06:28 July 24, 2010 by dindin
Being conscious about our diet is somewhat good because it lead us in disciplining ourselves in terms of eating what is enough for us. Sometimes, a little nonsense makes everything exciting.

Today you are able to celebrate your health or lack thereof with National Junk Food Day. National Junk Food day means you are able to use today to not feel guilty about anything you eat. Better for some, you are able to use today to feel good about how healthy you eat. Use today to take out an installment loan and fill your cupboards; or use it to fill the cupboards of those in need. This holiday is awesome because no matter how you feel when it comes to healthy eating, you can find an excuse in today to promote your feelings. This year is my first year celebrating this holiday and I can't wait.
02:15 July 26, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Jasmine33 --

You got my goat on that one.

Logic Guy --

Give it up. The dubious humor value of your sardonic posts has evaporated.
03:15 July 28, 2010 by thequeen09@att.net
Here we go again! More Government & Insurance Companies taking away freedoms. You can try to educate but if people do not want to listen or change you may as well talk to a wall. You can have a million different diet programs but if people do not truly want to loose weight it is a waste. You could even go as far as demanding that resteraunt start serving correct portions of food. That may close a few resteraunts. You can make all the laws you want and you can not make people follow them. You can tax everything and then the government can deal with unrest, riots, and more people out of work. This is about the Government & Insurance companies being greedy and having too much power. They are trying to control people and soon things will backfire. Who will win this battle? Not sure but I for one do not want to see Insurance companies win. I think they are the culprits behind all of this along with the rising cost of medical procedures. I think their books and executives need to be looked at.
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