New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has the nation buzzing again, this time with a plan to ban the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks throughout the five boroughs.
As one of the most ambitious of Bloomberg’s health crusades, this proposal would eliminate the sale of any sweet beverage (including energy drinks and iced tea) larger than 16 fluid ounces at restaurants, street carts, movie theaters, and even sports arenas.
Bloomberg has been defined by his commitment to public health, and over the years his administration has successfully banned the use of trans fats in restaurants, mandated that chain restaurants display calorie content on their menus, discouraged the use of added salt, and prohibited smoking in public spaces. Most recently, the NYC Health Department launched a graphic anti-obesity campaign designed to shock New Yorkers into healthier eating habits.
Though many applaud the mayor for his campaign against chronic illness, others interpret this regulation as another strike from “Nanny Bloomberg” that restricts personal freedoms.
It’s not just the New York City Beverage Association (who has launched a new subway advertising campaign in its defense) who’s protesting; much of Integrative Nutrition’s own community opposes government regulation of food, as well:
“The government has no right to dictate as to what or how much we ingest.” (Robin Adcock)
“What happened to personal responsibility? Do you really need others to direct your life? By surrendering your responsibility, you surrender your liberty.” (Alvaro Matta)
“While I agree that soda is killing us, I wonder if that time, effort – and I assume money – would be better put to use in things like education, prevention, and research.” (Irene Ross)
In the past, the IIN community has been similarly divided over issues such as taxing saturated fat, banning chocolate milk, and prohibiting the sale of raw dairy. The question remains: whose job is it to protect our health – our own or the government’s?
What do you think of Bloomberg’s proposed ban?