University of Alberta study examines drive-thru bans in Canadian communities

Click to play video: 'Would a drive-thru ban steer Albertans to healthier food choices?'
Would a drive-thru ban steer Albertans to healthier food choices?
WATCH ABOVE: Would a ban on fast-food drive-thrus steer Albertans towards healthier food choices? A team of public health researchers are looking into that. On Aug. 20, 2018, Quinn Ohler spoke to Kayla Atkey to learn more – Aug 20, 2018

The drive-thru can be a viable option for those in a rush and needing a quick bite to eat. But could you see a city like Edmonton choosing to forego the fast-food staple?

A recent University of Alberta study, published in the BioMed Central Public Health Journal, found 27 communities across Canada have implemented either a partial or full ban on fast-food drive-thru windows. That includes large cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, along with Edmonton-area municipalities like Beaumont.

Listen below: A study looking at drive-thrus is discussed on 630 CHED’s Afternoon News.

School of Public Health professor and co-author Candace Nykiforuk told 630 CHED’s Afternoon News the bans aren’t implemented just because some of the foods at these restaurants may not be healthy. Nykiforuk said many of the bans were based on improving their cities’ downtown cores, making space for people instead of cars and removing noise or litter.

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She also said communities are trying to create more spaces to encourage people to come together.

“That means promoting not just healthy eating, promoting walking [and] other forms of active transportation, but also inviting other people to come out of their cars, come out of their homes and integrate and connect with people and businesses in their community.”

Nykiforuk noted a drive-thru ban wouldn’t remove existing fast-food windows. Most of the restrictions allow already existing fast-food chains to keep the service running, while new builds would not be allowed to add a drive-thru. And some municipalities opted to allow drive-thrus only on busy routes, such as highways.

Nykiforuk also said the ban could create a level playing field for smaller local restaurants to compete with the fast-food chains.

“If nobody has a drive-thru, then it doesn’t have an economic impact, because it’s fair for everyone.”

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