Sugary Drinks Targeted Around the Country
Communities, hospitals, others coast to coast considering bans, taxes to curb consumption
CHICAGO -- From New York City to Los Angeles, health care officials and political leaders want to ban supersized sodas or tax sweetened beverages, according to a report by The Chicago Tribune. Limiting or taxing sugary drinks will help combat the nation's obesity epidemic, some say.
Health groups and nutrition experts seem to have mixed views on the proposals, said the reportwhile opponents such as the American Beverage Association say the plans would not have much impact on public health.
Four Vanguard hospitals in Cook County, Ill., are switching out soda, energy drinks and other sweet beverages in their cafeterias and vending machines for healthier options. For example, at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, cafeteria meals advertised with free drinks now come with bottled water rather than cans of soda.
New York City
New Yorkers are weighing in on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban sugary drinks of portions larger than 16 ounces in places like restaurants, sports venues and movie theaters.
The city is accepting public comments on the issue, which will next be discussed at a public hearing July 24 (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily Newscoverage). The city's Board of Health will then vote on the proposal, which could go into effect six months later if approved.
A three-member committee in Cambridge, Mass., is mulling whether to have its public health department study whether the community should limit large sugar-sweetened drinks at local restaurants. Following Bloomberg's lead, Mayor Henrietta Davis has said she thinks the ban would reduce soda consumption among adults and children.
A Los Angeles City Council committee is considering whether the country's second-largest city should ban sodas from all vending machines in parks and libraries. The group is studying what's sold in vending machines in other area communities, how the proposal might be implemented and the duration of vendors' contracts.
Residents will decide in November whether the city should create a 1 cent-per-ounce tax on beverages with added sugar, such as soda and energy drinks. A second question in the binding referendum proposal asks voters if they want the money spent on after-school and health-related programs, according to Councilman Jeff Ritterman, also a cardiologist, who proposed the idea. Drinks like baby formula and alcoholic cocktails would be excluded, he told the newspaper.
Ten hospitals in Boston are reducing the options at soda fountains, color-coding drink items with stickers that identify how much sugar and calories they contain and switching soda with other drinks on patient meal trays. The hospitals also are installing free water dispensers. The initiative began earlier this year with a push from the Boston Public Health Commission.