The soda wars are afizz again in two California communities. Voters in Richmond and El Monte will soon decide whether a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks is an appropriate municipal policy to help combat obesity.
Pepsi Scale at truckstop in PA by

Pepsi Scale at a Truckstop in PA. Photo by Melanie Hamlett -

Proponents of such policies argue something needs to be done to get communities fit and healthy. This is especially urgent in poorer cities like Richmond and El Monte. Here's an alarming statistic: HALF of the children in these two communities are obese or overweight. It is likely these children will live sicker and die younger than their parents. Indeed, instances of obesity and type-2 diabetes have ballooned in urban America over the past two decades, with no relief in sight. Taxing soda (or passing moratoria on fast food restaurants, as Los Angeles did recently) places obstacles between consumers and high-calorie foods. But opponents argue such taxes infringe on civil liberties, by stifling a person's right to choose what to eat. Read more.