Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fast Food Moratorium in South L.A.

For the past month or so, there has been a ban on new fast-food restaurants opening in South Los Angeles. In combination with incentives and tax breaks for grocery stores and restaurants with table service, the idea is to give people healthier eating options.

I think this is a great idea. Fast food is essentially junk food, empty calories that will make you feel full for awhile but lack important nutrients that your body needs. On top of that, fast food restaurants often serve the cheapest meat, which can be loaded with contaminants, unfriendly bacteria and filler. When you eat a lot of junk food, your body can only make junk energy. It's no surprise that diabetes is at epidemic levels among poor people (see the New York Times series from 2006).

This is a great first step in fighting obesity and all its related illnesses: diabetes chief among them, followed quickly by heart disease and high blood pressure. If we can get new grocery stores to open, or farmers markets to set up (click here for a list of farmer's markets in Los Angeles County), that will be a good next step.

Recommended Reading:
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser

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