Proponents of the hotly contested ordinance to ban fast-food restaurants from certain Los Angeles neighborhoods claim the measure is about health (“Targeting fast food leaves a bad taste,” News, July 29). But the real target is choice. A few council members apparently believe that a half-million L.A. residents can’t make better food choices on their own, so the government must choose for them.

Unfortunately this fast-food ban isn’t an isolated proposal. It’s just the latest diet decree pushed by health officials, nutrition advocacy organizations and weight-loss “experts” who narrowly focus on food as the culprit behind Americans’ excess weight.

But they’re way off target.

Healthy is more about how much we move than how little we eat. And with federal government statistics indicating that almost 70 percent of young Los Angelenos don’t engage in enough physical activity, exercise should easily take precedence over drive-thrus. Reinforcing that notion, the National Weight Control Registry?the group that tracks Americans who have effectively lost weight?reports that there’s no single recipe for success among its members’ diets. Instead the most common thread is physical activity.

Taking that to heart, health officials should encourage their residents (not restaurants) to get up and move.

Trice Whitefield
Senior research analyst
Center for Consumer Freedom
Washington