New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has an ingenious–although controversial–idea to help curb obesity: He wants to ban extra-large sodas. That means no more super-sized Cokes, no more large Gatorades and no more sugary drinks of any kind that are larger than 16 ounces. Is it a good idea? Hell, yes.
The mayor wants to seriously crack down on the sales of large sugary drinks throughout New York City. His goal is to ban such beverages larger than 16 fluid ounces from nearly all restaurants, movie theaters and street food carts throughout the city. This would take affect in March 2013.
Bloomberg justified his stance by telling the New York Times that it’s the right thing to do:
Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’
He went on to say:
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.
Bloomberg’s proposal is not sold yet though. It requires the approval of the Board of Health, but this is a step that is considered likely because the members are all appointed by him.
While this ban would apply to virtually all sugary drinks, energy drinks, sodas and even sweet teas found in delis, food carts, fast-food restaurants and even sports arenas, what’s puzzling is that it wouldn’t include those sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. It also wouldn’t cover coffees, juices, dairy drinks such as milkshakes, diet drinks and alcohol. And fear not, large soda fanatics, cups may be limited to 16 ounces, but refills are permitted.
It’s a plan that won’t solve the obesity crisis (wouldn’t it be nice if it were that simple?), but it’s a start. Nobody needs a huge 64 ounce Big Gulp. As a matter of fact, nobody needs any sugary drinks. They are a major source of empty calories and have been accused of contributing to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney problems and other health ailments. If we’re ever going to get rising obesity rates under control, we have to start somewhere.
We’d all like to think that begins with personal responsibility, but the majority of Americans who are overweight or obese have proven that they can’t or are not willing to take personal responsibility for their weight and their health, which is only hurting everyone in the end with increasing rates of childhood obesity and increasing health care costs, which we all pay for. It’s been said that rising obesity rates cost the U.S. a whopping $344 billion a year in medical-related expenses.
Now, of course, not everyone is behind Bloomberg’s proposal, including the New York City Beverage Association who said:
There they go again. The New York City Health Department’s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top. The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates. It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity.
Tell us what you think of this idea. Good, bad, stupid, ingenious?