“How far should the Government go to protect us from ourselves? ” (Huffingtonpost. com). That is a question some New Yorkers have been asking themselves since September 13th, 2012, when the New York City board of public health officially put into effect a ban of selling sugary, soft drinks over 16 ounces (about half a liter). This soda ban has divided the city separating residents into two distinct views.
Will this new ban benefit New York City and create yet another stepping stone against the obesity epidemic, or is it an unnecessary abuse of power by the government, that is unfair to big corporations and businesses? HISTORY: Supersize me documentary, negative effects of Soda and rising obesity in Americans The 2004 documentary Super Size Me, by Morgan Spurlock expresses the rising issue of obesity in the United States. Over 100 million Americans are either overweight or obese and is associated with over 400,000 deaths per year.
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Not only has America become the fattest nation in the world also the biggest consumer of soft drinks in the world as well. There are three-million soda machines nation wide, that is roughly one for every 97 Americans (Super Size Me). According to studies from the Beverage Marketing Corporation in 2010, the average American drinks 44. 7 gallons of soda per year! That is equivalent to 487 cans or 286 bottles of soda, and all of that soda weighs a total of 375 pounds (gizmodo. com). Unquestionably portions are getting bigger in the fast food industry but the drinks are as well.
When Burger King first opened they had two sizes of soft drinks, a large 16-ounce and a small 12-ounce. Now the 12-ounce is the kid’s size, the 16-ounce is the small and they have added a 32-ounce (medium) and a 42-ounce (large). New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley recalls in the 1960’s the average size of soda was a 6. 5 ounce bottle, now in 2013; the average size is a 20-ounce bottle (cbsnews. com). A French tourist in New York City being interviewed by Morgan Spurlock outside a McDonalds exclaims in France the largest soft drink one could order, is equivalent to the American small.
New car models are becoming especially made to accommodate the 64-ounce, half-gallon double gulp, which consists of up to 800 calories and 48 teaspoons of sugar. This overconsumption of sugary soft drinks has led the rise in obesity doubling the weight of adolescents in the past twenty-five years. According to Supersize Me, 1 out of 3 children in the year 2000 will develop diabetes and if a child gets diabetes before the age of fifteen that child looses seventeen to twenty-five years of their lifespan.
This is an expensive problem, so much that 1 in 5 U. S health care dollars is spent on care for people diagnosed with diabetes spending a total of $245 billion dollars each year on diabetes, (huffingtonpost. com). PROS: P1 more in depth description of the ban, rising obesity in NYC , P2 what Bloomberg is saying to defend it. “Half of Manhattan’s citizens are overweight or obese — it’s a wonder the island hasn’t sunk,” Jeff O’Connell, NewYorkDailyNews. om contributor and author of Sugar Nation, believes this new ‘Sugar Nation’ is “killing our citizens, bankrupting our healthcare system and is irrefutably harmful” On September 13th, 2012, New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Board of Public Health took the city by storm banning soft drinks over 16 ounces, voting eight in favor and one abstain (cnn. com). 58% of New York City adults are considered overweight and according to New York Cities Health Department, one in three adult New Yorkers either has diabetes or is pre-diabetic due to obesity (cbsnews. com).
To care for these people, New York City spends an estimated $4 billion dollars each year on health care for overweight and obese people (cnn. com), and its only getting worse. The obesity rate in New York City went up 6% in the last decade. “According to the New York City Department of Health, over half of New York City residents are now overweight or obese. In the Bronx, this number has climbed to an astonishing obesity rate of 70%. The City calculates that if everyone drinking 20-oz sugary drinks switched to 16-oz, the city would “save” about 2. 3 million pounds per year (Forbes. com). Mayor Bloomberg defends his soda ban by advocating “It’s time to face the facts: obesity is one of America’s most deadly problems, and sugary beverages are a leading cause of it…as the size of sugary drinks has grown, so have our waistlines – and so have diabetes and heart disease, (cnn. com). ” Bloomberg also calls soft drinks “the single largest driver of these alarming increases in obesity (cnn. com). ” Even a 16-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, still acceptable under Bloomberg’s ban, is still equivalent to 52 grams of sugar, but research from University of Illinois discovered 40 grams f empty carbohydrates messes with ones metabolism that leads directly to fat accumulation (O’Connell, NyDailyNews. com). CONS: P1: exceptions to rules P2: government should not control the Although this “Big Gulp Ban,” may have good intentions, it does not apply to milk, fruit or coffee based or alcoholic beverages. Ironically, the “most sugar-packed food in America,” is not carbonated but in fact it is a shake, it is the Baskin Robbins Large York® Peppermint Pattie Shake, raking in a total of 281 grams of sugar (eatthis. menshealth. com).
A ‘fruit based’ drink from Sonic called Sonic’s Route 44 Cherry Slush packs in an astonishing total of 170 grams of sugar. In addition, the 24-ounce Venti ‘coffee drink’ at Starbucks, the Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino® with whipped cream has 120 grams of sugars, that’s over 30 teaspoons of sugar. (eatthis. menshealth. com). Under the soda ban, a person can still drink up to 281 grams of sugar just in one single milk shake, but the most sugar one can consume in even the most sugary soft drink is 52 grams (of a Sunkist orange 16 ounce beverage) (eatthis. enshealth. com). Even the most sugary soft drink is almost 5 and a half times less the amount of sugar as some other “milk” based products out there, is Bloomberg’s ban even getting to the source of New York’s out-of-control consumption of sugar? Bloomberg has been accused of evading the City Council by getting the law passed before the city’s Board of Health, who were all appointed by the mayor himself. “Would the (soda ban) ban special offers to buy one drink and get the second at half price? Asks economist Thaler, (huffingtonpost. om). Restaurants with soft drink dispensers cannot give a customer anything larger than a 16 ounce cup, but what about refills? Vending machines, supermarkets and convenience stores like 7-11, Walgreens and Duane Reade are also exempt from this ban because they are regulated by the state, not the city. As of February 2010, there are 257 Duane Reade convenience stores (googlemaps) on the thirteen-mile island averaging about 20 Duane Reades per mile. Therefore, how much will this even affect the daily lives of New Yorkers?
If the ban does not affect New Yorkers, it most definitely effects big soft drink corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Cocoa Cola’s issued a public statement against the ban saying, “(New Yorkers) can make their own choices about beverages they purchase, (Reuters. com). ” New York State Assembly Speaker democrat Sheldon Silver told The New York Post that this ban is beginning to sound similar to Big Brother limiting our choices and the freedom Americans have fought for should be better acknowledged.
If the government can decide to ban soft drinks then what does that mean they can ban next, a BigMac? An extra-large tub of movie theatre popcorn? Other points: Bloomberg previously succeeding on the health conscious NYC route In Mayor Bloomberg’s three terms in office, he has made an emphasis on getting New York City on a health-conscious path. 2002, Bloomberg went through the city council to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, and within the past two years he went even further extending the ban to public facilities like parks and beaches.
It has caught on so much in the past 11 years that almost every major city enforces the ban! According to Doug Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College, the Mayor was able to ban smoking because there is indisputable statistics on the dangers and side effects of cigarettes, but with soda, there is not, many people drink soda on a daily basis with no health problems. On year later, in 2003, Bloomberg banned sugary soft drinks in schools since 2003, has had some success decreasing the childhood obesity rate in New York by 5% (nydailynews. om). “Our schools, of all places, have no business selling kids a “lighter fluid” for diabetes that is also physically addictive. ” JUDGE On March 11th, 2013, the ban of 16-ounce soft drinks has fizzled. New York State Supreme Court Judge, Milton Tingling suspended the ban due to its inconsistency and violating the separation of powers. Tingling ruled it is unfair that small businesses like hot dog street vendors or locally owned grocery stores cannot sell a gallon of soda but multi-million corporations like 7-11 and grocery stores can sell it.
Mayor Bloomberg is immediately planning to appeal Judge Tingling’s decision saying “It would be irresponsible not to try to do everything we can to save lives, (wsj. com). ” Based off of a Wall Street Journal poll asking who is in favor of the judge’s decision to block Bloomberg’s sugar-drink ban, 83. 3% of readers agree with the judge’s decision. Conclusion: With the obesity levels in New York City rising almost six percent in the past decade, it has led to out of control spending on healthcare. Soft drinks have led to insane amount of sugar consumption and sugar has led obesity.
This rise in obesity has taken up hundereds of millions of New York City tax payers hard earned dollars so much so that 1 in 5 healthcare dollars is going straight to diabetes. On the contrary, do citizens of New York deserve to deicide what they can and cannot drink? Why should the government tell a person they cant drink one soft drink but that same person can walk half a block in the city and drink a Baskin Robbins shake getting almost five times the amount of sugar that they soda consisted of.
Has the government gone to far into socialism and censorship? Is the government only getting more and more strict? First there was a rule with no smoking in public areas like parks, then no soda in schools and now no large sized soda in the City? Instead of this recent soda ban effecting citizens of New York City it is affecting small companies in relation to big corporations of grocery and convenience store chains such as