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Zoning Laws, Fast Food, and Obesity Project

Sponsored by CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, this project examines how zoning laws can encourage the availability of nutritious food and limit the proliferation of food that can be harmful. The City Planner’s Guide to the Obesity Epidemic: Zoning and Fast Food asks and attempts to answer the following questions:

  • What is the supporting scientific evidence for zoning laws that address fast food outlets?
  • Have such zoning laws been enacted by municipalities and what are the bases of such laws?
  • Have the courts upheld zoning laws that address fast food outlets?

These issues are addressed more fully in a larger monograph entitled, The Use of Zoning to Restrict Fast Food Outlets: A Potential Strategy to Combat Obesity. Planners and others are encouraged to use the content of this monograph to supplement the Guide. The monograph also discusses zoning and its traditional focus on protecting the public’s health. The project seeks to educate planners, public health officials, and others that zoning law has the potential to be an effective tool for addressing obesity as a public health problem.

Also available is the Powerpoint presentation, The Use of Zoning to Restrict Access to Fast Food Outlets: A Potential Strategy to Reduce Obesity, presented on May 18, 2006, at the CDC Diabetes and Obesity National Conference in Denver, CO.