Mar 19, 2015
Is There a Measurable Effect of the 2008 "Fast-Food Ban"?
Published in: Social Science & Medicine, v. 133, May 2015, p. 205-211
Posted on RAND.org on March 17, 2015
We evaluate the impact of the "Los Angeles Fast-Food Ban", a zoning regulation that has restricted opening/remodeling of standalone fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles since 2008. Food retail permits issued after the ban are more often for small food/convenience stores and less often for larger restaurants not part of a chain in South Los Angeles compared to other areas; there are no significant differences in the share of new fast-food chain outlets, other chain restaurants, or large food markets. About 10% of food outlets are new since the regulation, but there is little evidence that the composition has changed differentially across areas. Data from the California Health Interview Survey show that fast-food consumption and overweight/obesity rates have increased from 2007 to 2011/2012 in all areas. The increase in the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity since the ban has been significantly larger in South Los Angeles than elsewhere. A positive development has been a drop in soft drink consumption since 2007, but that drop is of similar magnitude in all areas.