told critics that her “Lets Move” program to fight obesity was never about big government.
“That’s not really what Let’s Move has ever been about,” she responded, when asked about her critics, adding that her goal was to give parents the right tools they needed to make “choices that are right for them.”
“But this isn’t about government telling people what to do,” the First Lady said. “What we know we need to do is give parents, community, families, the tools and information they need to make choices that are right for them and there’s no one size fits all solution.”
Well, in NY, the latest strategy in the war on obesity is to ban choice when it comes to size variety on sodas:
New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
Okay..why single out sodas? (In 2009, Democratic leaders wanted new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks). And why not go all the way and ban sugar? Or go even further and ban all junk food and 7-11 stores; and dictate every aspect of what citizens put into their bodies? It’s the only way to insure good nutrition, right? It would help the poor who definitely suffer from an obesity problem.
In recent years, soda has emerged as a battleground in efforts to counter obesity. Across the nation, some school districts have banned the sale of soda in schools, and some cities have banned the sale of soda in public buildings.
In New York City, where more than half of adults are obese or overweight, Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner, blames sweetened drinks for up to half of the increase in city obesity rates over the last 30 years. About a third of New Yorkers drink one or more sugary drinks a day, according to the city. Dr. Farley said the city had seen higher obesity rates in neighborhoods where soda consumption was more common.
At fast-food chains, where sodas are often dispersed at self-serve fountains, restaurants would be required to hand out cup sizes of 16 ounces or less, regardless of whether a customer opts for a diet drink. But free refills — and additional drink purchases — would be allowed.
So what’s the point, then? Is this really going to even be effective? If someone wants to poison his body with a 16 oz soda, what’s to prevent him from buying two 8 oz cups?
Well, Nanny Bloomberg has an answer to that:
The mayor, who said he occasionally drank a diet soda “on a hot day,” contested the idea that the plan would limit consumers’ choices, saying the option to buy more soda would always be available.
“Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a sarcastic tone. “I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away.”
He also said he foresaw no adverse effect on local businesses, and he suggested that restaurants could simply charge more for smaller drinks if their sales were to drop.
The Bloomberg administration had made previous, unsuccessful efforts to make soda consumption less appealing. The mayor supported a state tax on sodas, but the measure died in Albany, and he tried to restrict the use of food stamps to buy sodas, but the idea was rejected by federal regulators.
With the new proposal, City Hall is now trying to see how much it can accomplish without requiring outside approval. Mayoral aides say they are confident that they have the legal authority to restrict soda sales, based on the city’s jurisdiction over local eating establishments, the same oversight that allows for the health department’s letter-grade cleanliness rating system for restaurants.
In interviews at the AMC Loews Village, in the East Village in Manhattan, some filmgoers said restricting large soda sales made sense to them.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Sara Gochenauer, 21, a personal assistant from the Upper West Side. Soda, she said, “rots your teeth.”
But others said consumers should be free to choose.
“If people want to drink 24 ounces, it’s their decision,” said Zara Atal, 20, a college student from the Upper East Side.
There are so many things available to us that (in my personal opinion) are bad for me and bad for others. But why restrict the freedom of choice so selectively? How much impact would a law like this even have in reducing the obesity and health problem that bad nutrition in general poses? After all, it doesn’t eliminate at all access to sodas, nor in purchasing seconds, thirds, fourths, etc.
In the Nanny government’s war against obesity, who ultimately wins?