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Thursday, October 8, 2009

South L.A. Ban On New Fast Food Restaurants Is Bad Idea

From an Oct. 6 article by Jerry Hirsch in the Los Angeles Times:

A regulation banning the establishment of new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles is unlikely to curb obesity rates, according to a study by researchers at Santa Monica think tank Rand Corp.  Concerned about high levels of obesity, the lack of traditional grocery stores and a proliferation of fast-food eateries, the Los Angeles City Council approved a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in one of the poorest sections of the city last year. It has extended the ban through March of next year. [...]

They found that the far wealthier West Los Angeles has 29 fast-food chain establishments, 14 small food stores and 10 large supermarkets per 100,000 residents. South Los Angeles, by comparison, has 19 fast-food chain restaurants, 58 small food stores and three large grocery stores. [...]

South Los Angeles is often labeled a "food desert" because of its lack of large traditional grocery stores that are the typical source of healthful foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables.  However, the study found no difference in fruit and vegetable consumption between residents of South Los Angeles and people in other areas.  [...]

The Rand researchers attributed the greater likelihood of South Los Angeles residents to be obese to their consuming more snacks and sodas than people who lived in other areas. "Snacks usually don't come from a restaurant," Sturm said. "They typically come from stores and vending machines."

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