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Poll: Fight obesity crisis but keep the junk food

WASHINGTON — Everyone could use a little help keeping those New Year’s resolutions to slim down. But if it means the government limiting junk food, the response is an overwhelming, ‘‘No.’’

Americans call obesity a national health crisis and blame too much screen time and cheap fast food for fueling it. But a new poll finds people are split on how much the government should do to help — and most draw the line at attempts to force healthier eating.

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A third of people say the government should be deeply involved in finding solutions to the epidemic. A similar proportion want it to play little or no role, and the rest are somewhere in the middle, according to the poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Require more physical activity in school, or provide nutritional guidelines to help people make better choices? Sure, 8 in 10 support those steps. Make restaurants post calorie counts on their menus, as the Food and Drug Administration is poised to do? Some 70 percent think it’s a good idea.

‘‘That’s a start,’’ said Khadijah Al-Amin, 52, of Coatesville, Pa. ‘‘The fat content should be put up there in red letters, not just put up there. The same way they mark something that’s poisonous, so when you see it, you absolutely know.’’

But nearly 6 in 10 people oppose taxes targeting unhealthy foods, known as soda taxes or fat taxes. And when it comes to restricting what people can buy — like New York City’s ban of supersized sodas in restaurants — three-quarters say, ‘‘No way.’’

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