Failure of fast food ban on South L.A.

The Doug Sellman’s and Boyd Swinburn’s of this world want sugar taxes, bans on fast food and labelling of what they call “unhealthy” products.

The main problem, apart from their control freak nature, is that they don’t work in combatting obesity.

The evidence is there for all to see.

The national discourse about health and obesity has never been a particularly cordial conversation.

In 2008, it hit a tendentious peak when a ban on new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles brought the term “food apartheid” to the table. The ordinance, which was implemented in a part of the city that is both disproportionately poor and obese, came as a response to the idea that there are two different systems for accessing food in Los Angeles, one with more limited options in an economically depressed part of the city that is predominantly black and Latino, and the other with more variety in more affluent neighborhoods.

Ban this, block that…no bottle stores near schools, stop fast food joints opening up…never is there a though about personal choice in the matter. Sugar taxes and bans and plain packaging will work they tell us.

Yeah, nah.

[T]he South Los Angeles ban was unprecedented in that it was the first to connect a policy to the obesity epidemic. The ordinance didn’t shutter existing restaurants, but it did block construction of new stand-alone fast-food restaurants in an area with 700,000 residents. (That’s a population that, if separated from the rest of Los Angeles, would still make one of the U.S.’s 20 largest cities.) The effort also dovetailed with an initiative to encourage supermarkets and stores with presumably healthier fare to move in.

According to Swinburn and Sellman this should work right?

On Friday, the ban got a dose of bad news: A study released by the RAND Corporation revealed that the ordinance had “failed to reduce fast-food consumption or reduce obesity rates in the targeted neighborhood.” In fact, obesity rates in the area had grown at a faster clip than elsewhere in the city. As NBC News reported, the percentage of people in South Los Angeles who were overweight or obese in 2007 was 63 percent. By 2011, that figure was 75 percent.

“We never believed it was going to be an overnight situation where all of a sudden the community was going to be healthy,” one of the co-authors of the zoning restriction told the Los Angeles Times.

But the problem wasn’t just the limited timeframe. As Roland Sturm, one of the co-authors of the study noted, the 32-square-mile area covered by the fast-food ban was relatively light on the very stand-alone franchises that had been prohibited. In a phone call, Sturm characterized the South Los Angeles restriction as “symbolic” and “not at all effective.”

A big fat fail.

You don’t stop obesity with taxes and bans, you stop obesity by educating people to eat less and move more.

Just 8 weeks ago I was over 120kgs.

I stopped eating crap, started consuming quality foods but also I massively upped my exercise…I was putting in about 2750 calories but burning around 5000 calories.. Unsurprisingly I lost a massive amount of weight in a short period of time.

I didn’t pay any extra taxes and I made a personal health choice.

You lose weight and fight obesity by stopping stuffing large amounts of rubbish food into your gob and getting that enormous arse off the couch.


– The Atlantic