Tuesday, July 29, 2008

With a side of classism

First NYC mandated that calorie counts be placed on the menu - at chain restaurants only - and now the Los Angeles City Council wants to ban new fast food restaurants. It's painted as a way to reduce obesity among low-income residents. The council wants to "lure" grocery stores and more healthful restaurants to the area. Do you need to ban fast food in order to do that? While the one, vaguely-Hispanic-named woman polled (are we to assume she's poor?) said she'd be willing to spend more on healthier food for her children, there are plenty of families who simply can't spend more on food.

This is asinine and insulting. It assumes that low-income residents need someone to restrict their diets for them. Like it or not, fast-food restaurants provide jobs - crappy, low-paying, unskilled jobs, but jobs nontheless. Also, banning fast food doesn't address foods eaten in the home. How does the city council plan to "lure" grocery stores to the area? Lack of access to grocery stores and farmers' markets is one proximate cause of obesity, but the root cause is that people are poor. Work on that and don't waste time, energy, and funds on these silly half-steps.

LA City Council
California Restaurant Association

UPDATE: Well, damn: LA blocks new fast-food outlets from poor areas (don't you just love that headline?)

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