As many of you know, in an effort to fight obesity, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on the purchase of large sugary drinks from restaurants. People either think it’s a wonderful idea to combat a growing epidemic (half of New Yorkers are overweight), or think that the government is overstepping its bounds.
As someone who is very passionate about changing the direction of our nation’s health and has worked with obesity programs in the past, I respect the fact the Mayor Bloomberg has a track record of being concerned about New York’s life expectancy and obesity consequences. After all, NYC was the first city to require food chains to post calorie counts to help consumers make better, more informed decisions about what and how much they are eating.
However, I’m concerned about the government taking it upon themselves to control people’s ability to choose the healthy option. People who want to drink a lot of soda or sweet tea can simply buy two of the small size or get it from the grocery store where the ban does not apply. Where does the regulation stop? Are we going to ban the sale of all unhealthy foods, too? Good-bye to tasty chips and cookies! It’s a slippery slope.
Soda is not a healthy option, can contribute to excess calories, and puts toxins in our bodies. I believe drastic measures are necessary if we ever want to see progress in our country’s wellness, but a problem with the patterns and lifestyles of the people needs to be fixed by behavior change in the people. Effective change comes from seeing how helpful good nutrition affects someone else’s life and then emulating that example. If people are educated on what is actually healthy, then they can be proud when they choose what’s best for them.
Sure the ban may be a good thought, a step in the right direction, and could keep some people accountable, but definitely it is not a solution. We need to find the courage to choose the right option for ourselves, trusting that good nutrition will create a better self, instead of imposing another regulation. From what I’ve experienced, there’s something empowering in making a right choice, even when it goes unnoticed or uncelebrated, and seeing its benefit in your own personal life.
What do you think? Is the ban helpful for people’s health or not?