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Healthy options — or soda taxes? How two cities are tackling obesity.

New York and Chicago agree: Obesity is a problem. They have really different plans to fix it.

Shop Healthy gives bodegas brightly colored signs to put up all over the store promoting healthier options.
Byrd Pinkerton/Vox

New York and Chicago are two large cities that struggle with high obesity rates.

Twenty-two percent of New Yorkers are obese. In Chicago, it is more than a quarter of the city. Obesity puts people at risk of diabetes, heart disease, even cancer.

This is awful for New Yorkers and Chicagoans ... and it’s also expensive. Cities have to spend a lot of money taking care of all these health complications.

So a few years ago, the people who run both these cities decided this was a problem.

But they had really different ideas about how to fix it. New York made healthy foods more available; Chicago made soda more expensive.

On this episode of The Impact, we look at which fix worked best.

Read more

  • Julia Belluz charts the spread of soda taxes across the United States.
  • More from Julia! A great piece on a ballot initiative that is going to make it harder for cities in Washington to pass soda taxes in the future.
  • A few years ago, Sarah Kliff looked at the challenges faced by a healthy corner store program in Philadelphia.