Let’s Sit Down and Eat: L.A. City Council Combats Diabetes and Obesity in South Central

The Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously to ban the opening of new fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles (aka “South Central”) and nearby neighborhoods.

The one-year moratorium covers a 32-square-mile area with roughly 500,000 residents—about one-eighth of all Angelenos.

Jan Perry, the councilwoman who sponsored the ban and who represents much of the affected area, said she proposed it to address the epidemics of obesity and diabetes affecting her district. South Los Angeles has the highest percentage of obese adults in the city, 30 percent, compared to a citywide average of 21 percent.
It also has the highest incidence of diabetes in Los Angeles County.

The legislative ban defines a fast food restaurant as “any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders, and food served in disposable wrapping or containers.”

Perry said that she hopes the moratorium will encourage the opening of sit-down restaurants that will offer locals more healthful meals.

Critics of the ban believe that it will simply benefit existing fast food restaurants by eliminating potential competition. They also complain that the ban mistakes an abundance of fast food restaurants for the reason why South Los Angeles has fewer sit-down restaurants than other neighborhoods.

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