NYC isn’t the only big city picking fights with fast food restaurants these days. Citing high obesity rates in her mostly working-class district, Los Angeles councilwoman Jan Perry has proposed a 2-year ban on new fast food restaurants in parts of South L.A., in the hope that it will make room for healthier restaurants to compete.
The Los Angeles Times says that South Los Angeles has the “highest concentration of fast-food eateries” and “far fewer grocery stores” than the rest of L.A. They also point out that “30% of adults in South L.A. are obese, compared with 20.9% in the county overall.” The policy director of a local advocacy organization says that with the low income levels and limited transportation options, many South L.A. residents are “almost a captive audience for these restaurants, unfortunately.”
Critics are saying it’s a perfect example of a nanny welfare state policy, and that there are better ways to entice “healthier” restaurants to set up shop. But Mark Vallianatos, director of the Center for Food and Justice at Occidental College, says it’s a step in the right direction:
“While limiting fast-food restaurants isn’t a solution in itself, it’s an important piece of the puzzle. [It's] bringing health policy and environmental policy together with land-use planning. I think that’s smart, and it’s the wave of the future.”
The proposal will be considered this fall by the L.A. City Council.
[The headline to this post was updated to improve accuracy—thanks, B.]