If you had asked me several years ago if it were possible to place a ban on those huge sodas that are sold at movie theaters, in restaurants, at sporting events or through fast food restaurants, I would have said, “That’s a great idea but it will never happen.”
Well, it did and I’m very happily surprised. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg was successful in passing a ban on dispensing sugared beverages, including sodas and sweetened tea, in sizes larger than 16 ounces. The ban is scheduled to go into effect next March.
As an advocate for helping children and adolescents take control of their weight and health, I appreciate the fact that Mayor Bloomberg feels he can’t stand by and watch something so dangerous to our health be ignored.
As you can imagine, not everyone is as thrilled as I am. Retailers, many in the food business and many residents are up in arms. Among other things, they don’t feel it’s the city’s place to tell us what to eat or drink.
The empty calories of sweetened drinks are one of the biggest contributors to childhood and adolescent obesity. According to the American Heart Association, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages daily is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased healthcare costs.
Obesity is this country’s biggest epidemic and it is affecting millions of children and costing us almost $200 billion dollars a year in health care costs. We all need to step up to tackle this problem now- with school programs, changes in our behavior at home and public heath policies that can make a difference.
Can we afford to stand by and do nothing? Banning large sodas may seem like a bold move but the obesity epidemic is worthy of extreme measures.
Parents, what do you think of Bloomberg’s big soda ban?
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