Blog of Rights

Jason
Stern
Why Childhood Obesity is a Civil Rights Issue

Why Childhood Obesity is a Civil Rights Issue

By Jason Stern, Racial Justice Program, ACLU at 4:04pm
Last week, a New York State appeals court panel appeared to take all the fizzle out of New York City's ban on large sugary drinks, which had been overruled by a lower court judge in March. While the future of the ban remains unclear, one thing is certain: the debate in New York City is drawing attention to the skyrocketing national rate of obesity. In the last 30 years, the rate of obesity among children has more than doubled and, among adolescents, it has more than tripled. Today, more than one third of all children and adolescents are obese. New York City's position on large sugary drinks was one attempt to resolve these very serious issues caused by several factors. Last week's arguments highlight the difficulty of addressing just one of these factors in isolation; instead, a comprehensive policy is needed to combat the structural causes of American children's ill health.
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