NYC health board approves Bloomberg's soda ban

Bloomberg's plan drew sharp criticism when he unveiled it in May — critics saw it as paternalism, a charge Bloomberg's public-health activism has sparked before. But it was difficult to fight, given the structure of New York City government.

The health board's stamp of approval Thursday means the measure will take effect in six months unless a court intervenes to stop it, The New York Times reported.

The large-soda ban is the most significant step any city or state has taken to restrict sugary drinks — seen as a major driver of the country's obesity epidemic. Other governments, including Washington, D.C., have considered taxing sodas, but backed down following withering attacks and lobbying campaigns by the industry.