Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Fast Food-Enough is Enough
Los Angeles has taken a bold move in the battle against unhealthy eating by banning new fast food restaurants from opening in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. The city council has issued a moratorium on new fast food for a year in South Los Angeles.
Sure there is criticism..government stepping into a free market...government treating people like children that can't make good decisions for themselves...government targeting poor neighborhoods, etc etc.
But more than 45% of the 900 restaurants are fast food chains in the affected 32-square-mile zone. There is do doubt that fast food chains (McDonalds, Wendys, KFC, Burger King) squeeze out competition. Most poor neighborhoods don't have large supermarkets with organic food or appealing vegi displays. The choices for people in poor urban neighborhoods are limited so let's face it...unchecked market forces are leading this country toward obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Ask any mom (poor or rich) if she wants fast food restaurants on every block and the answer will be "no". How about a convenient supermarket with appealing fresh food or deli? You won't easily find that in South LA.
Families are eating out more often and advertising that targets kids, coupled with low prices and supersize high fructose corn syrup soft drinks is killing America.
I don't think this is heavy handed government. Prudent urban planning is the responsibility of government and LA got it right.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 7:05 AM