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Minorities Do Battle for Soda Companies

January 28, 2013
Plain English Version

Ebony Magazine

Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola give thousands of dollars each year to groups fighting for the rights of minorities. Now they are asking for something in return.

The New York branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P) and the Hispanic Federation joined the American Beverage Association (ABA) in court to try to reverse New York City’s coming ban on large-size sugary soft drinks. The NYC Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus also oppose the ban on soft drinks.

About 70 percent of black New Yorker City residents and 66 percent of Hispanic New Yorker City residents are overweight or obese. The percentages are even higher in low-income areas.

Health officials say these communities would get the biggest benefit from drinking less soda. Other places, such as Massachusetts, Hawaii and Nebraska are proposing higher taxes on sugary drinks.

The N.A.A.C.P. agrees that obesity is a problem among blacks. In response, it is urging support for more physical education programs in the schools.

The ABA lawsuit says the City does not have the authority to issue the new rules. The City says it does because it is a public health rule.

The City’s health commissioner said he was “disappointed” that the N.A.A.C.P opposed the plan. “African-Americans are suffering in this crisis, and I do not think they should be siding with big soda companies. They are attacking City officials trying to respond to that crisis.”

The New York Times

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