Part of American’s charm can be found in its fast food chains that provide large meals and Big Gulp drinks to satiate your junk food and soda cravings. But, just like any charm that’s laid on a little too thick, this tends to get a little overbearing, as do the pounds that pack on due to this overindulgence.
However, it seems New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has found a solution to this bulging problem. Largely due to the fact that half of the city’s adult population is overweight, Bloomberg has proposed banning large-sized drinks (including sports drinks) that are high in sugar and exceed 16 ounces at all fast food chains, movie theatres, sporting events, and street carts.
Though many in the beverage industry will no doubt try to fight the proposal for the sake of profit, the Bloomberg administration is known for taking extreme measures when it comes to improving the health of New Yorkers. Not only did they manage to get a law requiring chain restaurants to print calorie counts on their menus, according to the Chicago Tribune, but also enforced a ban on smoking inside of bars.
No doubt it won’t be just soda industry workers who will be upset if the bill is passed, but customers who look forward to indulging in a large drink either daily or every so often.
The issue at hand is not only health. The crux of the controversy lies in the size of government, which has been an issue since the dawn of American civilization. Should government be allowed to have a say in how much sugar intake you are allowed when at a McDonald’s or a Taco Bell?
When, according to the American Heart Association and Daily Mail, one in three children between the ages of two and 19 and one-third of American adults are either obese or overweight, then quite frankly, yes.
If government failed to take action against the expanding—no pun intended—problem, then, it would be criticized for allowing its people to grow overweight and unhealthy just because it would profit from the estimated billions the beverage industry makes yearly by selling its goods. Keep in mind that the Average Beverage Association (ABA) was quick to point out that “two-thirds of Americans oppose Bloomberg’s plan.” Also keep in mind that it’s not your health and right to buy whatever you want that the ABA is rooting for, but the ban of a law that could decrease their yearly profits.
As Bloomberg said to PBS’s Judy Woodcruff, he’s not trying to take away “anybody’s right to do anything,” but merely reminding people that buying sugary drinks is “detrimental” to their health.
It’s not like he’s suggesting banning soda altogether. Large sizes of soda would still be available in markets. Bloomberg is merely providing a healthier alternative that New Yorkers should embrace, setting an example that more cities should follow. Let’s think of Bloomberg as a nutritionist setting up a healthy diet plan for his customers.