Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Online Extras

November 13, 2012

Cities seek restrictions, taxes to curb obesity

Atlanta — Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in New York City doesn't always stay in New York City.

It spreads.

Just months after the Big Apple made it illegal to serve sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters and delis, other cities also are considering putting restrictions on soft drinks, part of a multi-front effort to address American's growing obesity problem.

It's a move that, if it picks up steam, could rock the multi-billion-dollar industry that's led by Atlanta-based Coca-Cola. Carbonated drinks — for the most part, sodas — constitute almost half of the industry's business and almost 24 percent of drinks in movie theaters and restaurants.

That's left the beverage industry scrambling, sinking millions into media campaigns that portray the measures as Big Brother interfering in personal choice. The industry also has filed a lawsuit challenging New York's law and is stepping up its efforts to put calorie counts on vending machines and to offer sodas in smaller cans.

"The reality is the decision in New York that affirmed Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg probably gives mayors in other cities a way to make a statement like that," said Tim Mescon, an economist and president of Columbus State University. A check with local officials found no such moves being considered in metro Atlanta or Georgia.

Since 2009, municipalities across the nation and around the world have launched efforts to either tax or limit sugar-sweetened drinks in some public buildings, schools and even churches, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

On any given day, about half of the population over the age of 2 consumes a sugary drink, according to a Centers for Disease Control report. At the same time, Americans are heavier now than ever. A recent report by Trust for America's Health found that, by 2030, the U.S. could have an adult obesity rate above 44 percent. The group said Georgia's obesity rate could be 53.6 percent by 2030.

Text Only
Online Extras
  • Football helmets don't protect side of head from blows in tests

    Players using current football helmets aren't adequately protected against hits to the side of the head, which can lead to sometimes-lethal concussions and brain swelling, researchers said.

    February 18, 2014

  • b_tuesday_eisenhower_20110405sg3371.jpg Augusta National removes 'Eisenhower Tree' after ice storm

    A 65-foot tree named after the nation's 34th president on the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club was removed over the weekend after sustaining "irreparable damage" during an ice storm at the home of the Masters Tournament.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why marrying your equal can boost inequality

    Rich and poor Americans are slowly but surely staking out separate lives. Increasingly, they have been moving to different communities, and more frequently they are also marrying people of similar income and educational backgrounds. This is a phenomenon social scientists call assortative mating.

    February 5, 2014

  • credit-card-generic.jpg Hackers probably attacked companies beyond Target, report says

    Hacking attacks like those that siphoned credit-card data from Target and Neiman Marcus are probably part of an unprecedented assault on a larger number of retailers, according to a security company working with the government.

    January 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Four ways to tell if Affordable Care Act is working

    We are now days into the health-care law's insurance expansion, which began at midnight on Jan. 1. And it is, alas, far too early to tell if the nation's new health-care reform is working.

    January 4, 2014

  • Antibacterial soaps must prove safety to stay on shelves

    Antibacterial washes would have one year to prove they're safe to remain in U.S. stores, part of a proposal by regulators to address 40 years of debate on overuse of germ-killing chemicals.

    December 17, 2013

  • iStock_000023490405XSmall.jpg Old-school toys dominate holiday lists

    There are two requests Don Mahoney, otherwise known as Santa Claus, keeps getting day after day: Barbies and Legos.

    November 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Gall-dindi.jpg Turkeys are funny-looking and tasty, but can they fly?

    Turkeys are an ungainly mess of a bird. Their bodies appear too big for their scrawny legs, and they are pocked with all manner of bizarre anatomical structures, including snoods (fleshy bumps on their foreheads) and a dewlap (that distinctive flappy wattle under its neck). But amazingly, the bird - at least in its wild form - can fly.

    November 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Man loses banana peel injury case, faces criminal charges

    It was the video that did him in.
    One night in early August, Maurice Owens was riding an elevator at a Washington Metro station when, he says, he slipped on a banana peel as he was getting off, injuring his hip and leg.

    November 27, 2013

  • 5 historical pioneers of social media: Martin Luther invented the listicle

    Before PSY blew up YouTube, before @Horse_ebooks became a Twitter superstar, even before the world discovered LOLcats, there was the apostle Paul - early Christian missionary, eventual saint and, it turns out, a pioneer of viral media.

    November 5, 2013