CON: Since he assumed office in 2002, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has implemented a slew of policies aimed to improve the health of the residents living in our country’s most populous city.
Bloomberg has outlawed smoking in public parks and beaches, limited alcohol advertising near schools to cut down underage drinking, provided schools with low-weight salad bars and unveiled a plan to decrease salt intake by 25 percent.
On Thursday, Bloomberg made the city’s most drastic stride in favor of health by banning restaurants, food carts, cafeterias and concession stands from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.
While Bloomberg’s intentions are in the right place, he has overstepped his boundaries and has taken on the role of nutritionist for The City That Never Sleeps.
The overall health of citizens is something that should be taken seriously, but it is not Bloomberg’s place to dictate what people choose to put in their bodies.
It’s not as if people don’t have the option to order a 16-ounce drink at virtually every restaurant around the country. If you’re at McDonald’s, the small soda is for you. If you’re at Starbucks, order the grande frappuccino to-go.
Sure, you do have the option of ordering a large, 32-ounce soft drink at Mickey Dee’s, but there’s a simple solution: don’t order it if you don’t want to.
And if sodas were so easy to kick off the menu, who says Bloomberg is done?
Farewell, French fries. Ciao, cheeseburgers. Check you later, chicken nuggets.
Where does it stop?
If Bloomberg is so concerned with halting obesity, somebody tap him on the shoulder and inform him that soft drinks are just the tip of the obese iceberg.
Obviously Bloomberg’s intention is to cut down obesity rates in his city, and there’s nothing wrong with that motive. But instead of tapering with sugar intake by parenting people who don’t want to be parented, Bloomberg could accomplish the same goal by nipping sugar intake in the bud.
As previously noted, Bloomberg passed a Salads in Schools initiative in December to provide healthier options in schools. What he could do is ban sodas in schools alone. Take unhealthy options away from state-funded schools and leave the rest up to the children’s parents.
If parents choose to let their kids drink more than 16 ounces of soda in one sitting then so be it. You did what you could, but taking away the freedom to drink 18 ounces of Coca-Cola is not for Bloomberg to decide.
PRO: Some may argue that people are entitled to make their own choices about what they can or cannot drink. After all, this is America and people should be able to decide on what they should or should not do. If people should be able to determine right from wrong, is it right or wrong that nearly 60 percent of New York is obese?
It is easy to criticize Bloomberg for limiting the size of drink people are allowed to purchase, but it is a ban made with good intentions.
So many people have problems with self-control. If this were not true, health magazines would not have to repeat article topics on self-control each month.
If people had more self-control, more than one-third of the American population would not be obese.
It is so common in American advertising to find companies promoting “bigger is better.” People have been trained to prefer bigger items as opposed to the smaller. Americans have also been raised to seek choices that offer the best values.
At Starbucks, the price difference between most grande and venti beverages is 30 cents. If someone is already spending $3.45 on a grande white mocha, isn’t it a given to pay 30 cents more and get the extra 4 ounces?
Bloomberg’s policy to ban sugary drinks over 16 ounces will not only help people learn to control their intake of sugary beverages, but will also help Americans save money.
No longer having to spend an extra 20 cents to 40 cents on a daily beverage could save people over $100 yearly. But the better saving will be in the amount of lives that will be saved from fewer deaths from obesity. Can you find anything more valuable than saving lives, America?