Some organizations have proposed, or are currently working to enact, zoning and land-use restrictions that target quickservice restaurants to combat obesity. Obesity is a critical issue, but reducing obesity requires a comprehensive effort that promotes education and responsible consumer choice for balanced diets and active lifestyles. Simply banning restaurants will not solve the obesity problem and instead establishes a dangerous precedent that will lead to government deciding which type of restaurants can serve the public. Research shows that obesity rates are affected by a variety of factors, including unhealthy food eaten at home and inactive lifestyles that incorporate heavier television viewing. Ultimately, the proposed zoning restrictions on restaurants will:
The foodservice industry is the top employment category for teen workers. At a time when the California unemployment rate for teenagers tops 34 percent, the proposal is unacceptable and would set a harmful trend of unfair business restrictions. Zoning restrictions would remove jobs and economic opportunities for some of the communities that are the hardest hit by the recession, including minority, teen and disadvantaged workers.
Threaten critical community programs
Restaurants are good community partners. New restrictions or bans on restaurants will jeopardize the charities and programs that rely upon these local businesses for their support and donations.
Set a dangerous zoning precedent
Restaurant zoning restrictions unfairly target one industry sector for a society-wide problem. This is an abuse of the land use process. The restrictions remove consumer choice, undermine free enterprise and signal that Los Angeles is an uncertain place for investment.
Distract from real solutions
By pursuing restaurant zoning restrictions, community groups are missing an opportunity to promote comprehensive and lasting solutions to the obesity epidemic. Without providing health education, consumers will continue to make unhealthy choices regardless of the density or location of quickservice restaurants.
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