An undated image of twenty-ounce bottles of regular and diet...

An undated image of twenty-ounce bottles of regular and diet soda for sale at a Manhattan deli in NYC. Credit: Getty Images

The ban on supersized soda moved a step closer to reality Tuesday.

The city's Department of Health unanimously passed Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal and has scheduled a public hearing for July 24 at its Long Island City offices.

Although some members of the department's board questioned why the mayor targeted only sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces and not other fattening foods, they agreed it was a positive step in the fight against obesity.

The ban, which would go into effect next March, doesn't need City Council approval. The proposal only needs to win approval from the city's unelected board of health, as it did Tuesday. A six-week public comment period will follow before the department finalizes the ban in September.

People also can submit feedback at nyc.gov/nycrules.

Potential mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, opposes the ban, but her expected rivals in the 2013 race, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, have endorsed it.

-- amNewYork

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, right, and board...

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, right, and board member Joel Forman listen to a presentation on sugary drinks during a New York City Board of Health meeting, Tuesday, June 12, 2012 in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban large sugary drinks from New York City eateries is moving forward. The proposal was formally submitted to the city's board of health Tuesday morning. The board is expected to hold a series of public hearings during a 90-day comment period. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Credit: AP

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

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