No soda at parks, libraries - Los Angeles councilman pitches

LOS ANGELES

Councilman Mitchell Englander pitched his proposed soda ban at parks and libraries to the city's Arts, Parks, Health & Aging Committee on Tuesday.

Englander talked about the growing obesity problem and demonstrated that a 20-ounce soda bottle contains about 22 packets of sugar.

"The idea is to make sure we have healthy choices in our vending machines that are in our park and recreational facilities," said Englander. "This is the place where children are located, often unsupervised, where they go to the vending machines. Oftentimes, it's out of water and healthy choices and the only thing that's left are sugary, sweetened drinks."

The soda ban has the support of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, but it has drawn the ire of the American Beverage Association, which flew in representatives from Washington, D.C. to attend the meeting.

"A ban on soda on city parks and libraries will do nothing to improve obesity, and it does nothing to educate consumers about nutrition," said David Thorpe, a representative of the American Beverage Association.

Englander hopes to have the soda ban approved sometime this summer.

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