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The Chicago Tribune reports on how Chicago city employees "will compete against the city workers from San Antonio for a $5 million grant from the American Beverage Association to see which workforce is healthier. The nationwide soda lobbying group will also pay $1,000 to individual workers who meet as-yet unspecified health care goals." City workers are not required to join the competition, but Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said that the initiative is designed to encourage personal responsibility - a stark contrast with the efforts in other cities to tax or restrict access to sugary soft drinks.

"“I believe firmly in personal responsibility,” he said, adding, "I believe in competition, and I believe in cash rewards for people that actually make progress in managing their health care ... If you basically put aside personal responsibility, you’re missing the core ingredient for improving health outcomes."

However, as part of the initiative, soft drink manufacturers have agreed to add both calorie counts and more low calorie beverages to their vending machines. These retooled vending machines, according to the New York Times, "will first appear in municipal buildings in Chicago and San Antonio early next year. It represents the latest effort by the industry to head off mounting criticism of its products as one of the chief villains responsible for the nation’s obesity crisis."

“We believe partnerships like this — those which involve government, industry and civil society — can have a meaningful impact on the obesity issue,” says Steven A. Cahillane, president/CEO of Coca-Cola Refreshments, the unit of Coca-Cola responsible for its vending machine business.
KC's View:
Personal responsibility is made easier by transparency. I think this is precisely the way to go.