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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Transfat tyranny?

    New York City officials announced last week a proposal to ban trans fats in restaurants in the city. Perhaps concerned by the fact that what goes in New York often follows in the rest of the country, nationwide reaction to the plan was swift, and, for the most part, negative. So what’s the problem with New York’s proposed trans fat ban?

    Please. Governmental paternalism is a problem here, but if New York officials are really insistent on nannying their citizens, they should at least do it right. Any nutritional sciences freshman could tell you that merely removing trans fat from a diet won’t translate into significant improvements. It sounds rosy, but to achieve real results, the approach has to be holistic – a combination of healthy eating, smaller portions and regular exercise. And to think, I learned all of this in a general education class. Maybe these myopic health officials would benefit from enrolling in the UA’s NATS 104: Nutrition, Food and You.

    Damion LeeNatali is a senior majoring in political science and history.

    The New York City Board of Health’s push to criminalize the sales of foods containing more than 0.5 grams in all city restaurants is a frightening encroachment by the government on its citizens’ right to choose what they eat.
    Because trans fat leads to heart disease and heart disease kills tons of people, we should ban restaurants from selling trans-fatty foods? By that logic, we would have to penalize cigarette vendors, car dealerships or any other seller of a dangerous product. No, in this country we hold our freedom to choose very dearly. Publish the nutrition facts, subsidize new research and development to get Dunkin’ Donuts on sunflower oil, but don’t penalize businesses for providing a product I can make legally at home.

    Stan Molever is a senior majoring in philosophy.

    Playing games with drinking

    UA freshmen are now required to complete a computerized survey on their drinking habits called E-CHUG. If a student doesn’t complete the survey and is later punished for drinking, a $50 fine for noncompletion is added to their penance. Is E-CHUG constructive or coercive when it comes to dealing with underage drinking on campus?

    Pretending that undergraduates don’t drink or that the UA can eliminate it with police is not an effective way to address underage drinking. What’s important is to minimize the damages of drinking, and E-CHUG is an excellent answer. By letting students get personalized feedback regarding their drinking habits, students will be better able to know the consequences of their actions. Moreover, the way the university went about getting students, especially freshmen, to take the survey was superb. By making not taking the survey a $50 fine only if students were to get caught, it means that the ones that do the most drinking took the survey. And those are precisely the students that the UA needs to reach.

    Ryan Johnson is a senior majoring in economics and international studies.

    Mandating that students divulge personal information and coercing them with the threat of a monetary penalty both blatantly violate students’ autonomy.
    With coerced participation, I doubt that E-CHUG’s “”wink-wink”” name, reeking of condonement, is enough to get students to supply accurate responses. Survey credibility is further compromised by questionable confidentiality. The average student most likely assumes his or her name is linked to their answers – how else does the university know where to send the $50 bill?
    Even if the survey is confidential, if it is not perceived to be confidential, students will not be honest. How can an “”online intervention”” really be effective to give students and Campus Health Service real feedback when students don’t feel comfortable reporting real behavior?

    Courtney Smith is a senior majoring in anthropology and molecular and cellular biology.

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