You gotta hand it to Los Angeles for trying. A few years ago, the city decided that a lot of people in the south/central region were fat because they ate too much fast food. Solution: ban all new fast food restaurants in the area. Of course, no one took into account the zillions of existing fast food joints that would continue dishing up pink slime nuggets and mystery-meat burgers as fast as they could make them.
Well, lo and behold, a new study by the Rand Corp. (financed by the National Cancer Institute) indicates that “…from 2007 to 2012, the percentage of people who were overweight or obese increased everywhere in Los Angeles [no surprise there], but the increase was significantly greater in areas covered by the fast-food ordinance, including Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park.” No surprise there, either. In fact, the study found the consumption of fast food went up through South Los Angeles and the entire county during that time.
News flash: Being born in this part of Los Angeles, I can testify that the area is not on anyone’s bucket list to visit, much less to live there. Thus, grocery stores and farmers markets that offer a variety of fresh food are not keen to open up. Dilemma: I just got off work. Do I drive maybe 15 miles or more looking for a store, or cook it up myself with canned stuff I found at the Circle K, or just get fast food and forget it? See the picture?
New York tried banning super-sized sodas and it got shot down in the courts. So why did the L.A. City Council think it would work? Did anyone actually drive around the area covered by the ordinance and check out the 700,000+ demographic to see how and where they live and what’s available to them to determine if this great experiment was even feasible? Didn’t think so.
If the City Council would authorize tax breaks and other incentives to encourage a few of the grocery chains or big-box stores to start opening new locations around the area, I guarantee people would gladly shop there, which would go much further in reducing obesity than taking away their Whoppers.