New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has recently proposed a ban on large-sized sodas and with the support of New York’s board of health, the measure was passed making New York the first state in the nation to ban the sale of sugared beverages larger than 16 ounces.
Known to take aggressive, if not controversial steps to improve New York residents’ health, Mayor Bloomberg has spearheaded this initiative to ban large sodas. Along with this ban, Bloomberg has set up requirements for fast food chains to post calorie counts on their menus. And more recently, Bloomberg has enforced New York hospitals to lock up baby formula to promote breast-feeding in new moms.
These regulations have many New Yorkers protesting in the “Million Big Gulp March.” A rally not just about a soda ban, but a protest against the idea that government is dictating how people should live.
New York Liberty HQ spokesman Zach Huff comments, “Before, the government was instituted to protect the rights of everyone and prevent crime, and now it’s cracking down on the rights of everyone.”
I have an issue with government telling me what I can or cannot consume. Though I do not drink soda myself, I have to criticize this ban on large sodas as being extremely impractical.
Public health officials have demonized soda companies in a fashion comparable to that of cigarette companies. These are the same public health officials who passed the measure, and are composing their policy on large sodas similar to the policy against tobacco addiction.
It’s a misstep to take the same approach with obesity as we have with tobacco for many reasons. One reason being, obesity is a condition and tobacco is a product. Millions of Americans can enjoy a large soda with a greasy hamburger and still maintain a balanced diet. However, there is no amount of tobacco intake that can be considered healthy.
Clearly, there is an obesity epidemic in the United States. This is an issue that should be addressed, not only for our overall health, but for the future of our nation. However, Bloomberg’s approach to the obesity epidemic is flawed. The ban on large soda is impractical and far from a real solution to American obesity.
Secondly, it’s hard to regulate. What’s to stop a person from purchasing multiple 16-ounce sodas? The soda itself isn’t going away, just the amount a person can buy in one cup. So is this really the answer to the obesity issue? Furthermore, soda is not the only contributing factor to obesity. Why single out soda? Why not attack food companies and regulate the width of a slice of pizza, or the amount of jelly in a donut?
When will government worry less about what we ingest and more about other pressing issues like poverty, the failing education system, or even the countless potholes in the New York streets?
I understand what Bloomberg is attempting to do in New York, but regulating the amount of soda one consumes doesn’t insure the quality of life for his citizens. I would suggest that Bloomberg put his ambitions elsewhere and focus his attention on the bigger fish that need frying.