Leading article: End of the road

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The Independent Online

A fat man, or woman, is without honour in their own country, it seems. Baldwin Park, the blue-collar town in California which claims to have been the birthplace of the "drive-thru" restaurant – where busy motorists can buy a meal through the car window without turning off the engine – has had its fill of fast-food restaurants. The local council has imposed a nine-month moratorium on the opening of new drive-thru.

Officials in the little town (population 80,000) have decided that its existing 17 drive-thru, which outnumber sit-down restaurants by six to one, have contributed enough to the nation's weight problem. Instead, as the ban was introduced at the weekend, they opened an outdoor fitness centre to combat the town's childhood obesity problem. The California Restaurant Association is confident that the town's motorists will just drive to out-of-town drive-thru.

They may have a point. The original 1948 drive-thru, which was named the In-N-Out, was demolished some years ago. In its place was built a freeway, the Interstate 10, which runs the entire southern breadth of the country from the California coastline to Florida. There is no shortage of drive-thrus on the way.