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Shereen Jegtvig, MS

Fast Food Ban in Los Angeles

By August 17, 2008

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In the last couple of years we have had bans on sodas in schools and a ban on trans fats in New York City. Last month the city council of Los Angeles decided to prevent new fast food restaurants from opening in one of the poorer neighborhoods, South Los Angeles.

City council members believe this will help keep the number of fast food restaurants from overtaking the neighborhood and allow residents to have more healthy restaurant options. Critics say it is unfair to dictate what people can or cannot eat and some believe it is wrong to assume that people who live in poorer neighborhoods may be intellectually incapable of making good decisions about food and health.

Personally, I support the bans on sodas in schools in the US and trans fats in New York City, but this one makes me a little uneasy. While it wouldn't break my heart to see fast food restaurants banned everywhere, the idea of only choosing specific neighborhoods worries me a bit.

Tell me what you think.

Poll:Do you support the fast food ban in South Los Angeles?

Comments
August 17, 2008 at 5:37 pm
(1) Trish says:

I think this measure is tackling the wrong end of the problem. I believe in going to the root and intensifying nutritional education in schools and community centers, for example. Better informed people naturally favor healthier alternatives over fast food, and the economy game follows suit.

August 17, 2008 at 8:37 pm
(2) Steve Parker, M.D. says:

When faced with questions like this, I always ask myself, “Self, what is the proper role of government?”

Individual freedom is inversely proportional to the size of government. I.e., more government means less freedom. Our founding fathers knew this all too well. Too many of us have forgotten.

Proper goals of government, for example, include protection of individual rights enumerated in the Constitution, maintaining and enforcing a fair system of laws, national defense, protection of private property rights, and maintaining a currency system.

Banning certain restaurants in favor of other restaurants is not the proper role of government. Let us, the people, decide what and where to eat. Don’t let politicians decide for you.

-Steve Parker, M.D.

August 18, 2008 at 7:06 pm
(3) Megan says:

We all understand (or should) that poverty levels have alot to do with obseity and fast food. My question is if you pull out fast food restaurants what will you put in their place? Banning fast food is just the begining.. then what?

August 18, 2008 at 10:55 pm
(4) Yuri | EatingforEnergy.ca says:

FINALLY!!!

It’s about time. As if Americans weren’t fat enough and sick enough as it is. I say forget about the economics of fast food restaurants because in the long run the government will be one bailing out its citizens when they will they’re dropping like flies!

August 19, 2008 at 2:53 pm
(5) Nikki Flores says:

Although they’re trying to address obesity and poor nutrition in poorer neighborhoods, I don’t agree with the government saying what someone can or cannot eat, and I don’t agree with the government telling businesses where they can and cannot open up shop. The real underlining problem is lack of nutritional education in this country.

August 21, 2008 at 6:33 pm
(6) Christy says:

This makes me uncomfortable as well. If LA wants to limit fast food restaurants city-wide with zoning, that’s reasonable. A lot of towns have strict ordinances for cosmetic reasons. Targeting poor neighborhoods is a slippery slope and is only attacking a symptom of a greater issue. Provide better health education services for families, incentives for healthy restaurants and subsidized community gardens. Those would help the neighborhood in a number of ways, without removing much-needed jobs.

Boo, LA!

August 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm
(7) Kim says:

I don’t believe that it has anything to do with poorer families having an inability to make healthy choices. The real problem is the cost of healthy foods. Think about how much you have to pay for produce or whole grain products. The less fat, the more expensive. Every fast food joint has a dollar menu. I’m a college student and have enough trouble as it is buying enough fruits and vegetables to satisfy nutritional recommendations. I’m not sure how this plays into my opinion of getting rid of fast food restaurants, but I wish something could be done about the cost of healthy foods.

August 28, 2008 at 1:57 am
(8) Donna says:

Kim, I tend to agree with you. Although, I am not a college student and haven’t been one for many years. I look around at the grocery stores and so many of the fruits and vegetables that I used to buy for less than 80 cents a pound are now well over $1-$2/pound.

When I do my shopping on my limited food budget, guess which foods are the most affordable and the least desirable?

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