Many would argue that easy access to food and drinks loaded with fat, sugar, sodium and an abundance of calories are a large part of the obesity problem currently plaguing our country. In an attempt to change things for the better, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to limit the amount of soda you can get at fast food restaurants. Under his proposal, containers would be limited to 16 ounces. The mayor believes that this proposal would help solve his city’s obesity problem.
Many medical professionals agree with the restrictions, calling it a way to protect the public. Obviously there are others that believe this ban would be imposing on their right to make their own choices. President of the Brooklyn Borough Marty Markowitz said, “I’m not overweight because of big-gulp sodas. Frankly, I’m overweight because I eat too much pasta, pastrami, bagels, cream cheese and lox, red velvet cake and cheese cake.”
Estimates show that half of the residents of New York City are overweight or obese and about 5,000 people die each year in New York City due to weight related causes. Mayor Bloomberg has been quoted as saying, “This is becoming a devastating public health issue. It’s an epidemic.”
While obesity as an epidemic is constantly being examined, the soft drink industry has become a convenient target. Soft drinks are basically empty calories that offer no nutritional value and are loaded with artificial ingredients including high fructose corn syrup. During a hearing before the New York City health board, one doctor stated that calorie packed drinks increase the risk for diabetes and contribute to obesity.
Professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health Walter Willett made the statement, “Soda in large amounts is metabolically toxic. It’s obvious that this is the right thing to do.”
At this point the soda ban proposalis an idea for limiting calories and isn’t based on any specific research. Many New Yorkers are concerned that this will open up the floodgates for restricting other foods in the future. While soda makers argue that their products can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, it is important to note that it’s only part of the problem.
There are many factors that contribute to the growing obesity problem. Limiting soda or other liquid calories is definitely one helpful way to reduce your overall calorie intake. Including more fruits and vegetables as well as more exercise into your daily routine is a great way to lower your chances of becoming overweight or obese. For those who want to lose weight, the same advice applies.
This proposal will be voted on by the NYC Board of Health on September 13 and requires only their approval to go into effect.