Can We Legislate Lean?
The Case of the New York Big Gulp should become the primo example of good intentions gone wrong. Like U-TURN kinda wrong.
In case you’re not up on current news, the extra large soda pop has been the target of New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. The proposed ban, recently struck down by a judge, would have prohibited the sale of all sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in fast food restaurants, sports arenas, movie theaters, and food carts. The ban would not have applied to convenience or grocery stores.
According to the health commissioner of New York City, more than half of adults in the city are overweight. As reported in the NY Times, about a third of New Yorkers drink at least one sugary drink a day.
I admire and support creative measures to help combat obesity in America. But this idea was a whopping HORRIBLE one!
This is not the way to “rally the troops” in an already politically divided country.
Like parting a sea, citizens scurried immediately to their side of the wave. The ban immediately became about the role of government in our lives and not about our flabby bellies.
Adults resist and resent being treated like children.
In America, to take away or forbid is like shaking a soda before opening the top. There’s no way it won’t explode in your face.
Social stigmas are far more powerful than prohibitions.
It took a long time with cigarettes but it did happen. And it was progressive. The social stigma began way before restaurants, workplaces, and public facilities banned smoking through legislation. There was some backlash but not as much is if the smoking ban would have been the first strategy employed to head off this deadly habit.
Bloomberg jumped in the deep end before he could swim.
Education and incentives can impact the obesity epidemic.
Education begins in our homes and schools. Children should live under the guidance of an upper hand. There shouldn’t be one unhealthy food or drink choice in any public school in America! (unless for a special occasion)
Legislators should pressure insurance companies to reduce the premiums and out-of-pocket expenses of healthy, fit people.
We shouldn’t give up on the idea of taxing junk food. We’ve done it with cigarettes. Why not sell the Big Gulp for $5.00 instead of $.50? Put the revenue toward nutrition education in schools.
There’s an absolutely critical role our government should play in helping reduce obesity.
Revise the farm bill!!!!! Switch government subsidies of corn, sugar and soy and subsidize fresh fruits and vegetables. Help make healthy food more affordable!
Prohibit factory farming and the use of life threatening antibiotics in our meats and dairy foods. The average Joe can’t fight Monsanto or armies of lobbyists on Capitol Hill. But our government can choose not to subsidize junk food and prohibit patents on seeds.
Legislate information like GMO labeling and simple nutrition labeling on menus and products.
Who can argue against information except the people who don’t want you to make informed choices?!
Our leaders shouldn’t waste time on my soda cup size and instead get in the ring with the big boys that really impact our health!
Our mayors should focus on bike lanes, safe parks, and offer incentives to open healthy eateries.
The media could have shown Mayor Bloomberg running in Central Park, installing a new playground, or highlighting an elementary school’s healthy lunch program. Instead he’s likely increased sales of super sized drinks.
There is no reason to drink sugary drinks in our homes, schools, arenas or stores. So let’s choose not to.
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