If you haven’t heard all the hype, Mayor Bloomberg has announced a plan to pull all sugary drinks over 16 ounces from venues all over New York City, including street carts, movie theatres, sports arenas, restaurants and delis. Soda is at the top of the list, but his measure will also require limitations on energy drinks and pre-sweetened iced teas.
In an interview on Wednesday at City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg said, “Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”
Is this really what the public wants the mayor to do? Is this what society has come to – the government regulating the portion sizes allowed?
For now, the ban does not apply to dairy-based drinks such as milkshakes, fruits juices, alcoholic beverages or diet sodas and it does not include convenience store, grocery store or convenience store sales either. For fast food chains that allow self-service of beverages, only 16-ounce sized cups will be available and, as the plan currently stands, refills and additional purchases will be allowed.
More than 50 percent of the NYC population is obese or overweight and the health commissioner is pointing a finger at sugary sodas in the hands of hurried New Yorkers as the primary culprit of the uptick in pounds over the last 30 years. He, along with Mayor Bloomberg, believe this is a step in the right direction. NYC is often the model for changes like this that eventually become policy in other cities and states, such as the ban of trans fats and smoking in public areas.
Personally, I do not believe that the government should have the power to regulate our free will like this. It’s not right – it is not the type of government we signed up for in the United States. This is just the first step in a long line of food and beverage regulations to come. (Read my journal entry from yesterday, for more details of my opinion.)
Leave a comment – what’s your opinion?