There's been a lot of discussion lately about banning, taxing and even placing warning labels on soft drinks. These proposals have gone nowhere, and the public has remained overwhelmingly opposed to them. The court ruling last week in New York put the final nail in the coffin of the Bloomberg soda ban. It was a misguided concept from the start, and as it turns out, an illegal overreach of the Board of Health's authority. It's time for some in the public health community to abandon the anti-soda crusade, and recognize that it's going to take all of us working together to implement meaningful programs that will have a lasting impact on the health of our communities.
As ABA President & CEO Susan Neely put it in an op-ed which appeared on POLITICOPro (subscription) on Friday:
“Selectively picking out common grocery items like soft drinks as the cause — or even the driver — of obesity is misleading. The public does not believe that solutions to obesity are as simplistic as a ban on the size of just one item– nor should they, as neither the body of science or the facts support the activists’ claims.”
Neely concludes her op-ed by stating:
“Focusing only on regular soft drinks doesn’t make sense, especially since sales in this category have been declining for nearly 15 years as consumers move to lower-calorie options. It’s time to give up the soft drink vendetta. If we want to get serious about obesity and other complex health issues, it starts with education and collaboration — not laws, restrictions and regulation.”