Almost one year ago, fanatical food nut MeMe Roth had to be forcibly removed from her local YMCA. The community health center called the real cops on the publicist-turned-food-cop when she tried to vandalize a table of toppings for ice cream sundaes. Roth justified her antics by claiming she was trying to save nearby children from the tasty, frozen treats. Today, Roth took another swing at the YMCA — this time via press release. The anti-fat fanatic released a statement calling for the nation’s largest provider of child care to ban all “unhealthy” food.
The all-or-nothing approach touted by Roth and other self-anointed food activists actually creates the same problems they claim to solve. Blanket "junk" food bans do not teach children how to balance a variety of foods in a healthy diet. Instead, studies show that when they are placed in environments that outlaw “bad” foods, children develop forbidden-fruit obsessions and binge on the taboo treats. This behavior can stick with them for their whole lives. A recent review of a similar initiative imposed on Philadelphia schools found “no evidence to support that these interventions improve the health of these children.”
Besides being unsupported by facts, Roth’s radical demands lose even more credibility with a quick glance at her list of endorsements: Stephen Joseph, Neal Barnard, David Katz, Lisa Young, Susan Linn, and Barry Popkin. (The extreme measures proposed by that crowd are nearly crazy enough to make Roth look moderate by comparison.)
Just like last year’s failed citizen’s arrest (of ice cream), her demonization of Girl Scouts, and her push for a ban on birthday cupcakes, Roth’s call for zero tolerance is nothing more than a sad grab for the limelight.