Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sugary Ban: Right Intentions, Wrong Execution

Mayor Bloomberg announcing extreme ban of sugary drinks.

  Today is going to be a quick interruption to my vacation blogs. As much as I like to write about traveling, I needed a change up. Lucky for me, something popped up in recent days that gave me the perfect distraction.

  We've all heard about Mayor Michael Bloomberg's intention to ban the sale of large sugary drinks in New York City.

  I have to admit when I first heard about his proposal, I thought it was the right thing to do, and a great start to hopefully reversing our nation's obesity problem.

  Nationwide: 68.8% of adults are overweight or obese (35.7% are obese), and 31.8% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese (16.9% are obese). In New York City, more than half of the adults are overweight (34%) or obese (22%).

  So it is clearly just that: a PROBLEM. And something needs to be done.

  Regardless of what is causing Americans to become more and more obese with each passing year, I initially felt this extreme ban could potentially catapult us into working towards a solution. I mean really, when do you ever need a pop (soda, whatever you want to call it. OR juice -- which is just as dangerous to our waistlines/health as pop is) larger than 16 ounces???

  NYC and Bloomberg have been trendsetters in the past when it comes to health and adopting aggressive regulations. They were among the first to place bans on smoking in restaurants and parks, to prohibit artificial trans-fat in restaurant food, and require health inspection grades to be posted in restaurant windows.

  At first people complained and argued that those restrictions infringed on our personal rights and freedoms. But after a short time, similar restrictions have been adopted throughout the country. And throughout the world.

  Placing the health of our people and public safety ahead of personal freedoms.

Anything larger than 16 oz would be banned under Bloomberg's proposal.
  But I knew this 'sugary' drinks ban would cause an uproar. I could hear the arguments against it start before I even finished reading about Bloomberg's proposal:

  This is not America! What is happening to our freedom? This is not the business of the government! What will be next?

  After thinking about it for a few days, and thinking about the slippery slope we'd be stepping onto, I realize a widespread ban of sugary drinks would not be a good thing. Both politically and nutritionally.

  Politically, we'd be opening up a whole new can of worms. Dangerous, new precedents would be set, and there would be no turning back.

  And nutritionally, though I think at times we need a nudge in the right direction in this department, we need to learn personal responsibility on our own. Instead of banning, educate. What is it about sugary drinks that is harmful to our health? What is it about sugar that leads to obesity?

  If anything, now I hope Bloomberg's sugary drink ban re-opens the discussion, and makes people realize this is serious business. We DO have a problem, and we need to start searching for solutions.



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