265963 Evaluating the Health Implications of Land Use Regulations on South Los Angeles's Food Resource Environment: The South LA Fast Food Health Impact Assessment

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Breanna Morrison, MPL , Community Health and Education, Community Health Councils, Los Angeles, CA
Community Health Councils (CHC), a South LA based health advocacy nonprofit, conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) to the analyze health implications of the South Los Angeles Fast Food General Plan Amendment. This amendment requires discretionary approval of any new stand-alone fast food restaurant that locates within a mile of an existing restaurant. It's intended to reduce the proliferation of fast food in the community and preserve the limited land available for developing healthier alternatives.

The HIA utilized community-based participatory research to survey the accessibility of healthful options in every fast food restaurant located within 2 South LA zip codes. The study analyzed focus group and survey data from South LA parents, senior citizens, and health care advocates to assess community awareness of the regulation, gather feedback for policy recommendations, and acknowledge barriers to healthful eating. Researchers used GIS mapping and statistical analyses to assess impacts of the policy on the food resource environment. A unique vetting of the policy recommendations through the HIA process was conducted to ensure feasible implementation.

Findings revealed that despite community desires for healthier alternatives, most of South LA's fast food restaurants do little to make healthier choices accessible. Though no new fast food restaurants have been developed since the regulation, the amendment's limited scope does not adequately address the community's dearth of healthier alternatives. Consequently, CHC, City Planning, and the Public Health Department are working to enact a recommended expansion of the policy that would exempt restaurants that comply with American Dietary Standards.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the importance of pairing regulatory land-use policies with incentive-based policies to effectively improve equitable access to healthy foods in resource poor environments. Articulate a process for analyzing the health implications of a land-use policy utilizing inter-sectoral collaboration, community-based participatory research, and GIS mapping. Discuss the effectiveness of vetting a study's proposed policy recommendations through the assessment process to maximize feasible implementation.

Keywords: Community Research, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a food policy analyst with an interest in land-use policy and its connection to health equity. I am the principal staff for the Fast Food HIA as well as another locally funded HIA on sweetened beverage taxes and their potential impacts on disenfranchised communities in LA County. I've worked on community assessments for federally-funded grants, and recently established a community researcher development and training program that builds community capacity through community-based participatory research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.