New York City's plan to limit the size of sodas and other sugary drinks was shot down June 26 by a state appeals court. The ruling highlights the potential challenges local public health departments face in attempting to address concerns linked to the rising prevalence of chronic disease.
“The nature of chronic diseases requires cross-disciplinary approaches in which socio-economic behavioral factors are considered,” said Sara Mark, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Governance at Columbia Law School. Mark recently co-authored an opinion piece for the Huffington Post where she argued that the court's ruling limited the city health department's ability to effectively address new types of public health threats.
“If the court is saying to the agency that the agency can't consider these sorts of factors, then agencies and government are going to be left really ill-equipped to deal with these current crises,” she said.