Fast Food Restaurants Should Be Banned in the Inner Cities
by Sonya Fulgham
Fast food corporations such as McDonalds have become ubiquitous in America's poor urban areas, and the reason is because of their inexpensive meals. American families have become the moneybags for the fast food industries. The fast food industries have been taking advantage of families in several aspects of life. Families forced with situations where both parents have to work in order to take care of their children. That is where big capitalizing opportunity first took place, then the crack cocaine epidemic too place in the inner cities and destroyed a lot of families and homes. Without any regulations in place and no real evidence that the fast food restaurants where more hazardous than helpful, they were able to flood our community with high fructose syrup sodas, French fries cooked in high saturated fats, and highly microwave radiated burgers, which has contribute to the nations rise of obesity in or families. So with all the researched throughout the years we now know about some of the negative effects that the fast foods are having on the health of our families. With obesity, some of the health problems involved include diabetes, high cholesterol, which contributes to the clogging of arteries, heart problems, and stomach problems. Therefore, with Americans getting fatter us as society should take a stand in banning any more new fast food restaurants in the inner cities.
In the 1970’s most consumers were outraged about how high food prices had become in America following the war. Therefore, in the mid 1970’s David Wallerstein, a Director of the McDonalds Cooperation did a survey on several Chicago-area McDonald’s franchises, observing people eating all of their fries, which came in the little bags at the time, and desiring more, because they would go as far as eating the salt out of the bottom of the bags. Therefore, with the findings from his survey he was able to convince Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds that it would be in their best interest to think of new ideas to attract customers. They juggled with ideas on how to market the ideas and came up with the supersizing of the French fries, which helped them get their customer rates and sales up (Kroc). Many franchises adopted this advertising idea after realizing, that it was one of the best ideas anyone could have thought, of in order to increase their sales and profits. Then Max Cooper, a franchisee realized that if he could convince people to believe, by selling them three items off the menu and calling it a value meal, consumer would be getting more for their money. After presenting these ideas, sales sharply increased. They did exactly what they needed to in order to make consumers feel like they are getting more for their money. That was the start of the franchise restaurants boom for the value and supersized meals. Therefore, there is no wonder how Americans are getting fatter. (Keyser)According to a County Department of Public Health study released in April, Thirty percent of adults in South L.A. are obese, compared with 20.9% in the county overall, for children, the obesity rate was 29% in South L.A compared with 23.3% in the county. The figures are higher than a decade ago. In 1997, the adult rate was 25.3% in South L.A. and 14.3% in the county. South L.A. also has the highest diabetes levels in the county, at 11.7%, compared with 8.1% in the county. The analysis also highlights underlying issues that have plagued other lower-income urban areas around the country. “Such concentrations of fast food have helped cultivate a reliance on their price and convenience,” said Gwendolyn Flynn, policy director for the Community Health Councils, a Los Angeles Health Policy Advocacy Organization. (Abdollah)
The inner cities was dealing with its own epidemic (crack cocaine), which changed many people lives. There were so much drug addictions, violence, and single mother homes due to the justice system taking away the men. It boosted the desire for comfort, which families found in foods, fast food that is. They had already found out if they could get the children to demand their own meals (happy meals), which they knew about from watching the advertising for the Saturday morning television shows, that they could get the parent to purchase value meals also, which would also help in their quest to make children their loyal customers. In the 1980’s Franchises changed everything about their products in order to attract the children. They changed their songs so they would be catchier to the kids; they even put more items in the happy meals things like toys. The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal communications are two of the regulatory agencies that could not do anything about this situation even though they knew it would be more harmful than healthful in the end. On one hand, they could not come up with hard factual evidence that the consumption of fast food was harmful, and another reason was they knew it was going to be a hard battle to win, because of the limited amount of funds that they were working with (Barboza, Freedman). Fast food had become too convenient in America even with its many down falls. We obviously have an epidemic of obesity across the nation.
The people of our community deserve choices. As a city we can create policies to encourage these businesses to open their doors in South Los Angeles, so why can we not create some polices in order to close some of the doors and not let anymore in. This is not an attempt to tell people what to eat but rather responding to the need to attract sit-down restaurants, full service grocery stores, and healthy food alternatives, “Ultimately, this is about providing choices - something that is currently lacking in our community.”We want to help people make an informed decision at the time of purchasing," said Cathy Nonas, director of the Health Department's Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. (Macdonald, Sirianni)
America changed so much with the inflation it made families have to adjust; the hourly wage of the average U.S. worker peaked in 1973 and then steadily declined for the next twenty-five years. During that period, women entered the workforce in record numbers, often motivated less by a feminist perspective than by a need to pay the bills. In 1975, about one third of American mothers with young children worked outside the home, today two-thirds of such mothers hold positions in the workforce. There were now more women in the work fields than ever before right alongside men. Women were entering many different fields such as law, engineering, construction, and medicine. But with all of this freedom and liberation came the problems, with both parents holding down jobs and taking care of the household duties it became more convenient to eat out or order food to eat, that had to be delivered to their homes. There were just not enough hours in the day for parents to work and go home and prepare meals for their families. As the Sociologists, Cameron Lynne Macdonald and Carmen Sirianni have noted, the entry of so many women into the workforce has greatly increased demand for the types of services that homemakers traditionally perform: cooking, cleaning, and childcare. A generation ago, three quarters of the family’s money spent to buy and prepare food in the United States, at homes. Today, half of the money spent on food for our families seems to be spent at restaurants, mainly at fast food restaurants. (Macdonald, Sirianni) As stated in the (Critser) American were spending 40 percent of their incomes on take out or dine in dinners for their families, this seem to be easier for the parents, but all the while they were making thing more difficult for themselves in the long run. They were rationalize and justify the reasoning for consuming larger portions, saying they did not want to waste their money that they had been spending on fast foods and other convenient foods. Like three USDA higher scholars mentioned, “Where that may have been a reasonable attitude twenty years ago, when eating out was less frequent, but with today belief it becomes increasingly inappropriate” (Schor). “Americans have become out of control with their nutrient and self control” (Critser).
Let us not forget about the socioeconomic factors playing a part in this obesity epidemic. More and more families are consuming more fast food in the United States prevalently amongst the black, Hispanics, and poorer races. Some of the main reasoning is because where they are locating these fast food establishments they are located all around the lower income neighborhoods. They are about 2-4 fast food restaurants within a .5-mile radius of some of these homes making it more accessible for families to get to them conveniently (Block, Scribner, Desalvo). A La Times analysis of the city’s roughly 8,200 restaurants found that South Los Angeles has the highest concentration of fast food restaurants. The area has fewer finer eating establishments than the Westside, Downtown or Hollywood and about the same as the Valley. South Los Angeles also has far fewer grocery stores. Over the last past three decades fast food taken over in every aspect of the America’s society. Coming from an industry that begin with a handful of modest hot dog and hamburger stands, Southern California fast food franchise have spread to every corner of the nation, selling a broad range of different foods wherever paying customers may be found. Fast food served at restaurants and drive through, at stadiums, airports, zoos, high schools, elementary schools, and universities, on cruise ships, trains, and airplanes, at K-marts, Wal-Marts, gas stations, and even at hospital cafeterias. In 1970, Americans spent about $ 6 billion on fast foods; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more money on fast foods than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or even a new car. They also spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and cds, combined. (Price)
With all of the information that has been revealed we must take a stance and work on banning new fast food restaurants into our communities like in the way it has been banned in some cities that have already regulated fast-food restaurants in certain areas, includes Berkeley, Arcata California and Detroit, Michigan. Section17.22.020 (D) (2) of the Calistoga municipal code bans all “formula restaurants.” The ordinance, adopted in 1996, defines a formula restaurant as one that has standardized menus and a name, appearance and logo identical to another restaurant located elsewhere. In short, it keeps out McDonald’s and other fast-food chains. A neighborhood in Berkeley, Calif., restricts the number of quick-service restaurants to seven. For more than two decades, Detroit has had a zoning ordinance that prohibits fast-food restaurants within 500 feet of a school. In addition, drive-through and fast food restaurants have banned in Concord, Mass., since 1981. (Fernandez) Here are some of the characteristics of a community that has banned fast foods: Require chain restaurants to label their menus with calorie counts, limit drive-through zoning permits to restaurants selling health foods, limit the number and location of fast food restaurants, ban unhealthy products (e.g. trans fats and high fructose syrup), and limit promotional toy giveaways to healthy products. The Somerville Healthy Eating by Design Partnership used creative strategies to promote their local farmer’s market as a healthy and affordable source of fresh fruits and vegetables for all members of their diverse community that has banned fast food restaurants. As a result, more families now shop at the farmer’s market (and it contributes positively to the neighborhood economy).
Scientists tell us that obesity is a life-threatening epidemic in the United States and it involves two facts of modern life--we consume too many calories, and we burn off too few. We have found out that McDonalds can be harmful and discourage the consumption of nutritious food. We are putting the focus on McDonalds, because of its unique role in the obesity epidemic. Additionally, advertising, marketing, and promotion heavily influence product sales, especially to children. Moreover, some zoning laws might actually impede the opportunities for healthier food retail outlets, so the zoning regulations is used to control advertising of fast food in banned communities.
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2. Schor, Elana “Los Angeles city council issues fast-food ban for poor neighborhoods”, World Newsguardian.co.ukhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/30/usa2
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