When Councilman Mitch Englander discovered that his daughter was unable to find any beverage other than sugar-packed sodas in a city park vending machine, he was motivated to introduce a motion to ban them.
So Tuesday, he pitched his plan to the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee of the City Council to ban sodas from city park and library vending machines.
“As a father, and a longtime board member of the American Diabetes Association, the health of our children has long been a concern for me,” said Englander. “Providing healthier beverages in city vending machines is an easy way to make headway in the battle against diabetes and childhood obesity.”
He plans to demonstrate to the committee how much sugar is in sodas by emptying out 22 packets of sugar – representing the amount of sugar in each 20 ounce drink.
In 2002, the Los Angeles Unified School District banned the selling of sodas in all school cafeterias and campus vending machines.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seeking to ban large-size sugary beverages. His proposal places a 16-ounce limit on bottled drinks and fountain beverages sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It affects drinks that have more than 25 calories per 8 ounces.
Following in the footsteps of New York City, Cambridge, MA, is considering limiting the size of sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages in city restaurants. The Cambridge mayor proposed the idea at the council’s meeting Monday night, because of the health risks caused by consuming too much soda.
“We need to move Mayor Bloomberg’s effort beyond the five boroughs to all 50 states. Junk drinks are a leading cause of an obesity and excess weight crisis that affects nearly one of every three kids in the United States and half of all kids in poor, rural areas,” Robert Ross of the California Endowment, a health foundation, told the Los Angeles Times.
However, Glen Whitman, an economist at Cal State Northridge who questions government's role in shaping and restricting individual choices for adults and children told the Huffington Post, "The idea of the state stepping in and treating adults essentially as children and trying to protect them for their own good, as opposed to the good of others, that's been with us for as long as we've been around, as long as we've had governments."