Zoning for Health?

The Year-Old Ban on New Fast-Food Restaurants in South LA

Published In: Health Affairs, v. 28, no. 6, Nov./Dec. 2009, p. w1088-w1097

Posted on RAND.org on October 05, 2009

by Roland Sturm, Deborah A. Cohen

Read More

Access further information on this document at content.healthaffairs.org

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

A regulation banning new fast-food establishments for one year in Los Angeles, California, was passed unanimously by the city council in July 2008. It was motivated by health concerns and excessive obesity rates in South Los Angeles. However, it might not have had the impact that was intended. This paper reviews the empirical evidence for the regulation and whether it is likely to target the primary levers of obesity. We argue that the premises for the ban were questionable. For example, the density of fast-food chain restaurants per capita is actually higher in other parts of Los Angeles than in South LA. Other changes, such as menu calorie labeling, are likely to have a bigger impact on overweight and obesity.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.