www.herald-journal.com
What’s wrong with promoting health?

August 4, 2008

by Kristen Miller

Some people are having a fit because the Los Angeles City Council actually cares about the health of their citizens and has placed a year-long moratorium on new fast food restaurants.

We all know most fast food restaurants don’t serve the healthiest of foods, even though big names like McDonald’s and Wendy’s are adding healthier alternatives to their menus.

Either way, if I actually am in the mood for McDonald’s, it’s usually for fries and a burger, not a salad.

Anyway, the cap on fast food restaurants is in lieu of the increasing numbers of people who are obese.

CBS News reported statistics from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

According to the report, 30 percent of adults in the South Los Angeles area are obese, compared to 19.1 percent for the metropolitan area, and 14.1 percent for the affluent Westside.

Increased numbers are especially prevalent among minorities – 28.7 percent of Latinos and 27.7 percent of blacks are obese, compared to 16.6 percent of whites.

South Los Angeles also happens to be an “impoverished” neighborhood, where inexpensive food is a necessity.

According to the CBS report, by placing a moratorium on new fast food restaurants, the LA Council hopes to attract alternative restaurants serving healthier foods.

Fast food restaurants thrive on their convenience and inexpensive food. Where do they want to go? Where there is a need for convenient and inexpensive food, of course.

Healthy food is more expensive, but given alternatives including additional grocery stores and healthy fast food restaurants, I can see how this might work to drop the area’s obesity rates.

Some comments made on the CBS web site say this is a dictatorship; controlling restaurants from doing business where ever they please.

I see it as “enough is enough” with this bad, unhealthy food, and it’s time for healthier, yet inexpensive alternatives.

Look at Subway. It’s still considered inexpensive fast food, but one doesn’t have to feel guilty after eating a value meal.

Some think this is control, but I can also see it as restaurant businesses preying on the weak.

It’s the government protecting its people.

The same thing can be said about smoking in restaurants. Although I think the individual establishments should’ve had some say in this, it is nice to work in a smoke-free restaurant without the lingering smoke.

Not everyone has to suffer for people’s personal choices. Some could then say, “It’s the people’s choice to eat at these fast food restaurants.”

But really, how many unhealthy fast food restaurants does one block actually need?