The state of Connecticut is on the verge of banning all soda in its public schools.
The state can do what it likes with its schools, of course, but like most top-down remedies for what are ultimately personal decisions (I'll leave it up to someone else to determine if they're "good" or "bad" decisions), this one is ill-conceived, won't do much to address the actual problem, and will likely be counter-productive.
Caloric intake among children has largely remained stagnant over the last 25 years. It's increased by about one percent.
To the extent that kids are getting fat, they're getting fat because they aren't moving as much as they once did -- activity levels have dropped 12 percent over the same period.
Most schools use the extra income generated from exlusive contracts with soda companies and soda vending machines to fund physical education programs, intramural sports, and "B" and "C" level varsity sports. Meaning if you take that money away, more kids are probably going to be less active. Which means they're going to get bigger.
Even if kids were taking in more calories, soda isn't the culprit. Studies show that kids who frequently drink soda actually weigh less on average than kids who don't, or who drink it infrequently. Another study shows that, on average, kids in schools with vending machines consume a little over one can of soda per week. That's hardly enough to make them obese.
Yet more studies show that even if you restrict the number of calories kids take in during the school day, they'll make for it by eating more once they get home.
Most schools keep the machines turned off during the day. Some turn them on during lunch, but most only allow students to access the machines before or after the school day. Kids who patronize the machines during these times are also kids most likely to be involved in extra-curricular activities. That is, they're active. Meaning they're probably not the kids lawmakers have in mind when they pass these kinds of laws. Right now, you essentially have a system where active, sports-oriented kids are patronizing the machines, which generates money for phys-ed and intramural programs that get less active kids sweating and exercising.
But in a fit of moral panic, lawmakers have decided to ban the machines, or at least make them less lucrative by taking out the soda.
That cuts off the funding to programs aimed at the non-varisty crowd.
Real smart. Do-gooder government in action.