South L.A. Ban on Fast Food Restaurants Increased Obesity

A new study reveals that a program launched seven years ago to diminish obesity in South L.A. by outlawing new fast food restaurants resulted in an increase in fat people.

Thursday Rand Corp released results of a 2007 to 2012 obesity study. Ironically, they found that not only did the rate of overweight  and obese people increase everywhere in L.A, but in South L.A., where the ban on new fast food restaurants was deployed, obesity rates were significantly greater.

Rand economist Roland Sturm, the lead author of the study, said the restriction on new fast food restaurants was symbolic. “What has changed? Well, nothing,” he insists. The Rand report challenges the “pro-ban” nonprofit Community Health Councils statistics who cite  county figures showing a 3% drop in obesity.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who co-wrote the zoning restriction with former Councilwoman Jan Perry, told the Los Angeles Times, that he wasn’t surprised by the Rand study showing that the ban is not working. Parks considers the prohibition  an important starting point in decreasing the number of fast-food restaurants and changing eating habits in Los Angeles.

“We never believed it was going to be an overnight situation where all of a sudden the community was going to be healthy,” he said.

Rand reported that the percentage of obese or overweight people increased from 63% to 75% in South L.A. from 2007 to 2012. By comparison, during the same period, the rest of the USA shows an obesity rate increase of 57% to 58%


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