Happy Meal Ban Coming to LA?

Photo by foodforfel via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

In the wake of the Happy Meal Ban in San Francisco that requires McDonald's and other fast-food chains to reduce calorie counts and sodium levels in all meals that come with free toys and a statewide law that requires major chain restaurants to list calorie counts on menus starting in 2011, LA plans to revisit and enhance its own restrictions on fast-food chains in neighborhoods known for high rates of obesity, according to United Press International.

Later this month, a City Council committee will review a proposal to restrict the opening of new fast-food restaurants within 40 square miles of south LA neighborhoods. Opponents of the proposal, including the California Restaurant Association, have been lobbying hard at City Hall stating that new restaurants -- healthy or not -- bring much-needed jobs to the disadvantaged neighborhoods in question. Supporters of the proposal believe that an increase in healthier dining options will reduce obesity rates and associated health conditions, which will serve the community far more than quick-fix jobs.

The LA Times found in 2008 that fast-food chains represented 45% of all restaurants in South Los Angeles, which is far more than other Los Angeles neighborhoods. Areas that could be affected by the ban include Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park and West Adams neighborhoods.