One of the biggest arguments made by those protesting the proposed McDonald's coming into Loma Linda has been the affects of obesity on children.
One father told the council he was certain bringing the Golden Arches into his city would make it much more difficult to raise his children as they would now have a constant visual reminder of the restaurant.
Wayne Dysinger, a professor at Loma Linda University, told the New York Times in a recent story: “We know from research that if a school is near a fast-food restaurant, the kids there are more likely to be obese,” he said. “We will never eliminate unhealthy choices, and pretty much everyone has an unhealthy treat once in a while. I am going to drive by that intersection every day and it’s fairly likely that they will say ‘Oh Daddy, can we stop there’ more often. Why do we need to encourage that?”
Another person who spoke passionately to the council during its Dec. 13 meeting, asked, "Who will speak for the children? Are we killing our children?"
All very valid questions in light of numerous studies that indicate that obesity is climbing nationwide at an alarming rate especially among the young. The children of Loma Linda certainly are surrounded by fast food eateries, but just how much influence does Loma Linda and its residents really have over that?
A majority of Loma Linda's high school students - the most mobile group and most likely to eat fast food - attend Redlands High School. According to online maps, the students there have access to a McDonald's on Redlands Boulvard, four minutes from the school. Jack in the Box is a three-minute walk away on Citrus Avenue. Del Taco, also on Citrus, is also a four-minute walk.
Meanwhile, Loma Linda Academy's students appear to be the most exposed to Loma Linda's fast food sites. Students at the high, middle and elementary schools are 10 minutes from a Del Taco, Baker's, Weinerschnitzel and KFC.
There are only two other schools in Loma Linda, Bryn Mawr and Mission elementary schools, the latter of which sits on the border of the city and just reopened this year. Bryn Mawr is buried deep in a residential neighborhood and has no clear access to any businesses.
Mission School students are the closest to fast food joints. According to Google maps, they are four minutes from a Jack in the Box, which has the well-known Jumbo Jack with Cheese (comparable to the Big Mac) with a calorie count of 620. Loma Linda, however does not have a Jack. That eatery is across the street from the school in Redlands.
Neither of the schools would be less than a 20 minute walk from the proposed McDonald's.
The city does not have it's own local school district and is instead part of the Redlands Unified School District.
As far as nutrition, according to McDonald's own nutritional facts, the much vilified Big Mac is listed as having a hefty 540 calories. The Del Taco, which is closer to the high school, and already has a restaurant 10 minutes away from the LLA, lists a VeggieWorks Burrito that comes in at 620 calories.