And here’s the latest: Los Angeles City Council member Mitchell Englander has proposed a ban on the sale of soda from city park and library vending machines because it's unhealthy and, apparently, it makes teens violent.
Councilman Englander, who addressed a special committee on Tuesday, says he decided something needed to be done after he learned his daughter could buy only soda from the vending machines at a local park.
"Here in the city of Los Angeles, one in four children is obese," Englander told the City Council. "In many of our communities, it's one in three. This stands in stark contrast to a generation ago, when less than one in ten of our children were obese."
Because childhood obesity is, like, kind of a big deal, he thinks it’s important that they make soda unavailable for kids and teenagers in public areas. He suggests that they replace the soda with water and fruit juices.
“Sodas are laden with sugar and caffeine and have proven to be the least healthy beverage for young children and teenagers … and teens drinking lots of soda could be missing important nutrients in their diet,” Englander writes in the official motion.
And in case the special committee isn’t swayed by the "fight obesity" angle, Councilman Englander argues that soda also makes teens violent.
“A recent study featured on the online site ‘Injury Prevention’ has found a correlation between violence by teenagers and the amount of soda they drink. The study reviewed the behavior of Boston high school students, and provided evidence proving that teens who consumed more than five non-diet sodas per week were 9-15% more likely to be violent against peers and in dating relationships,” he writes in the motion.
“The study reflected an association, though not necessarily a cause and effect relationship between drinking soda and violence,” he adds.
So then the stakes seem pretty clear: either ban the sale of soda from vending machines in libraries in and public parks or risk having a city overrun with angry, overweight kids.
“As a City, we need to lead by example by making soda unavailable in our recreation and library facilities. Children cannot be blamed for poor nutritional choices, but as adults, we must limit those choices in City facilities known for children and teenage recreation,” Englander writes.
“The elimination of sodas in RAP [The Department of Recreation and Parks] vending machines will not put an end to childhood obesity, but it is a small step in educating the public about healthier food and beverage choices,” he adds.
His motion is being evaluated and the committee has 45 days to make a decision.