Canadian Study Ponders Banning Drive-Thrus to Promote Healthy Living

Could you imagine a life without drive-thrus? Most Canadians probably can’t.

A recent study by the University of Alberta, however, found that more than two dozen Canadian municipalities are enacting drive-thru bans. The academic work, titled, Adoption and diffusion of zoning bylaws banning fast food drive-through services across Canadian municipalities, highlights 27 municipalities that have implemented such bylaws since 2002 in an effort to promote healthy living.

Ontario alone is home to 10 municipalities that have enforced full or partial bans.


“Rationales for the drive-through bans included health promotion, environmental concerns from idling, community character and aesthetics, traffic concerns, and walkability,” explains the paper, concluding “fast food drive-through service bans may play a role in promoting healthier food environments.”

Now, you’re probably thinking the feds should play no role in initiating such bylaw and zoning directives. But if the government is counted on to help citizens make responsible decisions about cigarettes and sugar, why not fast food as well? And it’s not just about intake, either.

“[It] 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,” says Alberta University School of Public Health professor and study co-author Candace Nykiforuk.

It should be noted that drive-thru bans wouldn’t force already existing businesses to wall up their fast food feeders, but would prevent new ones from constructing such conveniences.

The study finished with a grandiose conclusion: “Research in the area of healthy food environments and zoning bylaw utilization may prove to be a vital part of preventing chronic disease in Canada.”