No more Big Gulps. No more Venti. No more Route 44. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who apparently has no problem stuffing his face with hot dogs), is on a mission to ban large drinks in New York City. And you know, if the New York Times is telling you that you’ve gone too far towards the nanny state, you’re not doing something right.
from the NY Times:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has done a lot to help improve the health of New York City residents. Smoking is outlawed in workplaces, restaurants and bars. Trans fat is banned in restaurants. Chain restaurants are required to post calorie counts, allowing customers to make informed choices.
Mr. Bloomberg, however, is overreaching with his new plan to ban the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. He argues that prohibiting big drinks at restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and other food sellers can help combat obesity. But as he admits, customers can get around the ban by purchasing two drinks.
The administration should be focusing its energies on programs that educate and encourage people to make sound choices. For example, obesity rates have declined slightly among students in elementary and middle schools, with the city’s initiatives to make lunches healthier with salad bars, lower-calorie drinks and water fountains in cafeterias. Requiring students to get more exercise has also helped.
The city should keep up its tough anti-obesity advertising campaigns — one ad shows that it takes walking from Union Square to Brooklyn to burn off the calories from a 20-ounce soda. The mayor has also started adult exercise programs and expanded the program for more fresh produce vendors around the city.
Promoting healthy lifestyles is important. In the case of sugary drinks, a regular reminder that a 64-ounce cola has 780 calories should help. But too much nannying with a ban might well cause people to tune out.
I disagree with the New York Time’s reasoning, mind you. If I want to eat trans-fats and wash it down with a Big Gulp, that’s my prerogative, and I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t eat. Mayor Bloomberg, however, he wants to “force you to understand.” Here’s what he said on MSNBC today:
“We’ve got to do something. Everybody is wringing their hands saying we’ve got to do something. Well, here is a concrete thing. You can still buy large bottles in stores. But in a restaurant, 16 ounces is the maximum that they would be able to serve in one cup. If you want to order two cups of the same time, that’s fine. It’s your choice. We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things. We’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup,” NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said about his proposal to ban sugary drinks 16oz or larger.
This makes me very glad I don’t live in New York City. I don’t want my government forcing me to understand anything about my Starbucks Venti Latte.