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Sugary-Soda Ban Will Cut Kid Obesity, Save Medical Costs, Englander Says

"It's not Big Government trying to take over and control what people are drinking or consuming," the councilman says.

Councilman Mitch Englander isn't out to ban anything resembling a Big Gulp drink like New York's mayor. Nor does he want to social-engineer sugar-loaded sodas out of restaurants.

His choice of beverage was a chilled bottle of water at Tuesday's Corral 54 equestrian picnic at Mason Park, where he told Patch, "It's not like what most people are proposing in other cities."

Instead, he wants to help kids with loose change in their pockets make reasonable drink decisions which will benefit both their health and the cost of medical care in California.

"My motion called for banning of sweetened beverages in vending machines in parks and recreation facilities owned and controlled by the city of Los Angeles," he said. "And I think it's reasonable because we're not looking at doing that at stores. We're not looking at doing that at private enterprise. It's not Big Government trying to take over and control what people are drinking or consuming."

Rather, he said, the city needs to oversee the content of vending machines in the parks and libraries it controls. Libraries currently do not have vending machines, but he said, his motion looks ahead to the day they might be installed.

Earlier Tuesday before the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee of the City Council to demonstrate how much sugar is in each 20-ounce soda. The committee asked for a report in 45 days on how the city might implement the proposal.

Englander told Patch that many children come to city parks unsupervised. "Their parents drop them off or they take the bus or walk and they have money in their pocket ... to get a drink" from vending machines, he said.

"And unfortunately, most of they time when there is water, it's empty, and we have to control that," he said. "We should at least be able to set the tone and lead by example as elected officials for the facilities we control."

But legislation is required because he sees little interest on the part of the vending machine operators to voluntarily drop sugary beverages. "The vendors make so much money off of it. You've got to do it by policy," Englander said.

In 2002, the Los Angeles Unified School District banned the selling of sodas in all school cafeterias and campus vending machines.

"I've been on the board of the American Diabetes Association for 15 years. And we've seen the changes -- just 10 years ago childhood obesity was about one in every 10 children," he said. "And right now it's about one in every four. In some communities we're seeing one in every three."

"These children go on to have all kinds of problems, not only like sleep apnea but also diabetes -- Type 2 diabetes which is rampant," he said.

"Right now we're looking at about $21 billion in healthcare costs in just the state of California because of diabetes and health-related incidents from obesity," Englander said.

"We're finding the No. 1 cause is sweetened and sugared sodas."

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Brian Aherne June 22, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Yes Breanna, we all need to be coerced or forced to ride the bandwagon. What would we do without more government control over our lives. My parents guided me, as I did for my children, and they are doing for theirs. Every generation until the most recent few made errors, but now, since so many parents are spineless, they must have government assistance and a safe rubber room for their brood. Council Person Englander is a part of the problem; legistation and regulation is not a part of the solution.
Bulldog1988 June 22, 2012 at 10:27 PM
This is not an elitist proposal. This proposal forces the vending industry to provide healthier drink options for the low-income kids you just mentioned. Educate yourself. The studies on this subject make it overwhelming clear that this is the right thing to do...
Brian Aherne June 23, 2012 at 04:30 AM
mar- Water! Free? Oh, maybe you mean drinking fountains. You need to get to the schools. Many, many kids will not drink from the fountains because their parents (yes, their parents) tell them it is dangerous. But our council person thinks the government needs to control "sugary" drinks. Don't worry, we will be taxed millions so a relative of some elected official or top level bureaucrat can be give a grant to study what constitutes "sugary."
Elena Bazini June 25, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I think it would be great to have sodas and juices banned from schools and parks vending machines and instead, have water and fruit.
trojan2002 June 29, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Because Jack this is the MOTHER F'N UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. LAND OF THE FREE! FREE. Free means I can do what I want without you and the government telling me what to do. Of course that was long before the "socialist" movement kicked in demanding a nanny state. Telling me where I can smoke, what I can eat, what I can wear, how I should talk. Jack people like you ARE THE IDIOTS. You give the government 1 inch they come back for more. That's why our country is fucked up now. The govt is not accountable at any level. Mr. Englander is a corrupt politician not some do-gooder. Bus signs, OPGs, car dealers, AEG... he is a bitch boy for special interest groups and CD12ers are too blind (or stupid) to see it.

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