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Los Angeles Considers Eliminating Soda Vending Machines

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Los Angeles already has a ban on sodas in school vending machines and cafeterias. Now Councilman Mitchell Englander has proposed putting an end to soda vending machines in Los Angeles parks and libraries, the Los Angeles Times reports.

While the move comes on the tail of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban oversize sodas in the city's restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and street carts, the LA Times asserts Englander's proposal is nothing like Bloomberg's "clunky, nanny-state tactics."

The Huffington Post reports Englander, who serves as president of the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association, introduced the ban when he learned his daughter had no other beverage options at the city park than sugar-loaded sodas.

"Here in the city of Los Angeles, one in four children is obese," Englander said to KTLA. "In many of our communities, it's one in three."

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Englander also referenced a study from October 2011 that showed a correlation between soda consumption and levels of violent behavior in teens.

Naturally the soda industry takes a different perspective. As David Thorpe, a representative of the American Beverage Association, told the Huffington Post: "A ban on soda [in] city parks and libraries will do nothing to improve obesity, and it does nothing to educate consumers about nutrition."

Los Angeles and New York City are not alone is waging war on soda. Lawmakers in Richmond, California wants to require businesses that sell sugary drinks to apply for and obtain a license—much like a liquor license involving a fee for the business operator, which would likely translate into an increase in cost to the consumer.

While the public at large, at least in New York City, opposes a soda ban, diabetes specialists see it as the beginning of a massive effort to restrict unhealthy foods and get the public's health back on track, reported Reuters. "We're spending billions of dollars for drugs to cure the problem after the problem happens, instead of preventing the problem," said Dr. Bryce Palchick, a general practitioner in Pittsburgh.

Related:USDA Study: Taxing or Increasing Cost of Sugary Beverages Can Lower Obesity Rates