Just how many calories are in that fast-food lunch that you squeezed in between two business meetings today? If you’re in NYC, the numbers are looking right at you when you order your food. After months of bickering between the city and the restaurant chains, calorie information is finally being displayed on menus, right next to the prices. Restaurants that have more than 15 stores nationwide are required to post calorie information on menus – but some restaurants are ignoring the rule, risking a $2000 fine by doing so. NYC is cracking down on obesity. But they’re doing it in a way that still gives residents the freedom to choose whatever they want to eat. Rather than banning fast food, or some other tactic that would be widely regarded as overbearing, big-brother style governing, the city has chosen to simply give people information. Chance are, a lot of people don’t know just how high the calorie counts are in many of their favorite restaurant meals. By putting the numbers front and center, the city is hoping that people will be more likely to make lower-calorie choices, and that the restaurants will start offering more low-calorie selections… supply and demand should have us end up with fewer menu choices that contain an entire day’s worth of calories. I think posting calorie information on menus is brilliant. We’re battling a national obesity crisis, and straining our overburdened health care system with epidemic levels of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and other illnesses that are directly related to obesity. And higher health insurance premiums for people who are obese are contributing to the ever-increasing health insurance costs we pay. While I don’t think we should be forcing people to eat any particular way, adding calorie information to menus is a great way to empower the public, encourage restaurants to offer more nutritious fare, and lower the rates of obesity. I haven’t heard of any plans for Colorado to start requiring calorie postings on menus, but maybe we should if we want to hang on to our “least obese state” title.