Instituting an Obesity Tax? Probably a little of each. I have to wonder if New York is ready for David Paterson's (NY Governor) proposed tax on sugared beverages, and also to question whether this is the right way to go about it.
Clearly, obesity looms as the next public health burden, and Paterson notes that a study by Harvard researchers found that each additional 12-ounce soft drink consumed per day increases the risk of a child becoming obese by 60 percent. Certainly a tax on self-destructive products (tobacco, etc) has worked in the past, and served to generate revenue to cover health care costs, but I wonder if the public is ready to equate candy/soft drinks with tobacco or alcohol.
Pragmatically, I think it could be effective, but it won't get at the root of the problem. A funding-strapped school will still happily put Coke machines in all hallways in exchange for $10 million - what we really need is a coherent social/education federal policy that values our kids not just in terms of pithy "morals" but in terms of future national security and stability.
(Oooops, sorry about that, not quite sure how that rant slipped in there. I'm done now. Promise.)