Oh LA la

31 Jul 2008

Yesterday Los Angeles City Council approved a yearlong ban on new fast food restaurants opening in South LA, the city’s poorest area where the concentration of fast food restaurants is the highest and obesity levels are above average.

The LA city council voted unanimously for the 12 month long moratorium – thought to be the first of its kind established by a major city in defense of public health – with the intention of encouraging the growth of healthier restaurants in the area.

Figures from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have shown that thirty per cent of adults in South Los Angeles area are obese, compared with 19.1 per cent in the metropolitan area and 14.1 per cent in the affluent Westside.

The city mayor is still to sign the action into law, but once endorsed chains such as McDonald’s will not be granted permission to open in this area of the city for one year. A report conducted by the Community Health Councils revealed that 73 per cent of restaurants in South Los Angeles are fast -food establishments compared with 42 per cent in West Los Angeles.

Representatives of major fast-food chain have stated they are in agreement with promoting better diets, but feel they are being unfairly targeted by this ban. They claim that healthier options have now been included on their menus.

The ban comes at a time when governments worldwide are considering restaurant menus as a public health matter much more. The California Restaurant Association and its members are currently debating whether to legally challenge the moratorium.

At a regional level, California became the first U.S state to ban trans fats from restaurants last Friday – deemed as lowering levels of good cholesterol and increasing bad cholesterol.

This is London

Victoria Blackshaw

[email protected]

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