What’s big, round and a strain on hospitals and tax payer’s pockets?
Obesity is now considered an epidemic and there won’t be a blanket solution for this crisis unless everyone’s on board with lifestyle changes. Many attempts have been made to educate the country, show our citizens how to eat healthy and how to exercise. These tactics aren’t enough based on rising obesity rates in the U.S. In an effort to solve the problem (and some may argue there are other motives) Bloomberg’s soda ban on large sugary drinks did not pass earlier this month in New York City.
Laura Petrecca of the USA Today writes,
The limit put a 16-ounce cap on sweetened bottled drinks and fountain beverages sold at city restaurants, delis, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts.
There’s been plenty of opposition too. From the NYSRA to New Yorker’s for Beverage Choices social media has played a key role in educating people and driving awareness of the proposal. Petrecca goes on to describe details of the ban,
The size limit applied to beverages with more than 25 calories per 8 ounces. It didn’t include 100% juice drinks or beverages with more than 50% milk.
The New Yorker’s for Beverage Choices Facebook account has seen a dramatic increase in Likes ever since the ban failed. They’ve started a website that shares not only their mission to keep choices open for New Yorkers but all the restaurants in opposition.
What Do NYC Businesses Think?
One factor that plays a key role in people questioned about the ban, especially business owners is that it has the potential to cut profits and these new more stringent rules do not necessarily create for a “healthier” America, rather a restriction on the freedom of choice. The ban has been likened to a symptom, rather than a solution in the efforts to curb obesity with specific examples like “refrain from the soda, but what about the burgers and the fries?” Hypothetically bans could be placed on all sorts of fast food, junk food, high sugar foods or even portion control as you enter a dining establishment. Too much bread in your meal? You’re not allowed to eat that. Too much sugar in your soda? Well, there’s still a fight. Bloomberg said he isn’t backing down.
The New Yorker’s for Beverage Choice describe themselves as an organization that…
…is made up of individuals, businesses, and community organizations—and we are growing in numbers! We believe New York City residents and visitors should have the right to buy beverages in any size they choose.
One of the biggest loopholes in the plan, as stated by the NYFBC organization,
Does the restriction apply to free refills at restaurants?
No, it doesn’t. Consumers can refill a beverage at a restaurant as many times as they want.
Of course at McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and other dining establishments with free refills, the refill police would be required to work long shifts and would be expensive to employ. How we are going to solve the nation’s food crisis doesn’t begin with restriction and government infringement on food, it begins with education and must include a desire to succeed.