Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LA Blocks New Fast-food Outlets From Poor Areas

I can see both sides of this issue, but I believe this measure is a courageous one for a city to take. I also think it is the right one.

I have heard countless people talk about how overweight poor people are as a way to condemn welfare and other social programs. Their argument is they have so much excess money that they are eating themselves fat.

The truth is the least expensive food carries the most calories and fat generally. So it is not the amount of food low-income families are eating that is leading to an epidemic of obesity, but rather the types of food that are readily available in poor neighborhoods.

And this trend is particularly devastating to minorities. Compared with Caucasians, African-Americans have a 60 percent higher risk of developing diabetes and Hispanics have a 90 percent increased risk. It's not being handed down by genetics, but rather zip codes.

Let's just hope that more health-conscience restaurants will take this opportunity to open outlets in these communities. They can fatten their bottom line while helping the neighborhood trim its collective waistline.

By CHRISTINA HOAG, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES - City officials are putting South Los Angeles on a diet. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in an impoverished swath of the city with a proliferation of such eateries and above average rates of obesity.

The yearlong moratorium is intended to give the city time to attract restaurants that serve healthier food. The action, which the mayor must still sign into law, is believed to be the first of its kind by a major city to protect public health.

"Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods," City Councilman Bernard Parks said.

Representatives of fast-food chains said they support the goal of better diets but believe they are being unfairly targeted. They say they already offer healthier food items on their menus.

"It's not where you eat, it's what you eat," said Andrew Pudzer, president and chief executive of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr. "We were willing to work with the city on that, but they obviously weren't interested."


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