New York City waistlines are being watched over closely by Mayor Michael Bloomberg who is likely to go down in history as the city’s most ardent anti-obesity fighter. His previous memorable rulings include prohibiting trans-fats at the N.Y. restaurants, putting calories on all menus, and stopping smoking in public buildings offices and bars (included).
Bloomberg keeps reminding that obesity is the reason behind 5.000 deaths in the city every year, and his next target to bring this figure down is soft sugary drinks. Compared to 1980s, American people’s calories intake has grown by 200-300 calories per day. Soft drinks are believed to be the chief cause of that due to high amounts of fructose corn syrup gone into their production.
When in 2003 sugary soft drinks were chased out of public schools, the health commissioner registered a 5% decrease in the school kids obesity rates within the last 4 years.
Therefore, Bloomberg’s latest proposal is to ban soft drinks in large containers (16 ounces and more) at restaurants, concession stands, and movie theaters. The ban doesn’t expand to stores.
Explaining his attitude in a talk with CBS News on Thursday, Bloomberg referred to numerous studies all stating that people are inclined to eat everything or almost everything that stands on their tables. They are likely to drain the bottle at hand, but far less likely “to make a conscious effort” and order another bottle.
Other opinions can be heard elsewhere – like from Susan Neely speaking for the American Beverage Association. “The mayor seems to have an obsession with soft drinks,” is her verdict. She goes on to say that the new ban will hardly scrape the obesity crisis, but it will surely look mighty strange when people go out to entertain themselves and can have any amount of beer and food, but soft drinks are subjected to a limitation.
But the mayor refuses to see himself as a kill-joy. He claims that the bans don’t really prohibit anything. People can easily disregard the calorie counts, no-one forces them to give up smoking, big bottles of soft drinks will still be available at any time.
Who is responsible for the situation with obesity? Bloomberg puts it down to people who keep buying products and companies that produce unhealthy stuff. “I don’t know if you can hold either one, either side of the equation responsible,” he concluded.