Street Vendor Legalization and Student Nutrition in South Los Angeles

At a Glance:

Location: Los Angeles, California

Date: 2015

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Meaningful Work and Wealth

Determinants of Health: food access, nutrition, employment, physical activity, nutrition

Affected Population: Children and Youth, People with Chronic and Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

Research Methods: Primary research, Qualitative research, Quantitative research

Community Types: urban

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Community Health Councils Inc. conducted an HIA of a proposal to offer permits for sidewalk vending in Los Angeles, focusing on how legalizing vendors could change the nutritional behaviors of students in South Los Angeles. Sidewalk vending is prohibited citywide, but the City Council is considering creation of a vendor permit application process. The HIA used field observations, surveys, and secondary data to analyze students’ probable food and beverage purchasing habits under various sidewalk vending regulatory scenarios and found that a significant portion of students (over 60 percent of respondents) would make purchases from vendors at least occasionally.

The HIA recommended that the city continue to prohibit sidewalk vending (including mobile vendors such as food trucks) within 500 feet of school campuses but provide exemptions for vendors selling defined healthy items. To promote healthy street vending, the HIA recommended that the city offer regulatory incentives and support microenterprise and vendor-incubation programs. The HIA also recommended prioritizing enforcement of sidewalk and mobile vending regulations around school campuses as well as programmatic support for healthy food outlets.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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