As we reported yesterday, a Los Angeles City Council committee has approved an interim control ordinance on opening new fast-food restaurants in a 32-square-mile section of the city. In today’s blog entry, we’ll let two experts weigh in on the decision.

“We need to change people’s attitudes and behaviors, not just eliminate restaurants,” says Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and immediate past president of the American Dietetic Association.  

“People always want to make a change in healthy eating by making mandates or requirements,” she says. “Logically, it seems like that’s the way to do it. But what we really need to be focusing on is changing people’s behaviors, which just isn’t that simple. Moratoriums, laws and mandates aren’t the solution to the obesity problem.  

“We need to teach people about proper nutrition, encourage more grocery stores to provide healthier food choices in all neighborhoods and find ways to make physical activity accessible,” Diekman adds. “While the concept of not opening any more restaurants does acknowledge that there is a problem, a better approach would be to talk to the current restaurants about providing more healthy options. The most powerful changes are the ones that involve the community as a whole because everyone has bought into those changes.”

“Our nation needs to address the obesity crisis sooner rather than later,” asserts Eleanor Kinney, JD, MPH, a law professor at Indiana University School of Law–Indianapolis and codirector of its Center for Law and Health. “Fast food is a major contributor, as are current practices of industrial agriculture and other factors. The challenge for public health law is to craft realistic legal and regulatory strategies to address the problem and still not trample on the personal rights of the public.”  

From Our Organic Blog