Mayor Bloomberg explained that the measure is a direct attack on obesity and its related health issues. Multiple studies released over the last several years indicate that obesity is now the most costly and serious health issue in America, having overtaken other health problems such as smoking and cancer.
Soda consumption is at the forefront of the obesity issue, and I was surprised to learn that a 17-ounce soda contains approximately 27 cubes of sugar and a 51-ounce soda contains approximately 87 cubes. Mayor Bloomberg argues that by limiting the size of sodas and other sugary drinks, consumers will consume less. Additionally, Mayor Bloomberg cites studies that show consumers are less likely to buy two sodas at a time, even if they want more than a 16-ounce drink.
In all honesty, I am very conflicted over this issue. On one hand, I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for taking a proactive stance on a serious and growing national epidemic. But, on the other hand, the idea of the government limiting the amount and type of beverage that comes with a value meal sends shivers down my spine.
I advocate for self accountability and responsibility. I believe everyone must sleep in the bed that they make. But, the deciding factor that I see with this issue is its affect on kids. The ban does not restrict sales in grocery or convenience stores. So, parents are free to buy and keep their houses stocked with whatever they choose. Also, anyone can go into a corner store and buy any kind of soda or drink that they want. Therefore, the major impact of this ban on fast food restaurants, where many kids order and purchase food on their own.
Because the practical effect of the ban is to limit the negative repercussions of fast food and take-out, and it doesn’t really do more than that, I support the measure. Although it’s always a slippery slope when creating new regulations and limits imposed by the government, on balance, I think Mayor Bloomberg’s measure does more good than harm and I hope it ultimately gets passed.