I am not a giant-sized soda drinker and I also do not live in New York so initially I did not really care what happened surrounding Bloomberg’s legislation limiting the sale of sugary drinks. But then I noticed they were also taking away the venti Frappuccino. What?! Don’t they know I work the night shift. Did New York lawmakers forget to consider the number of car accidents they are going to cause related to drivers falling asleep at the wheel?
Last week, New York City’s Board of Health approved a ban on sugary drinks. The ban prohibits restaurants, fast-food joints, movie theaters, sports stadiums and food carts from selling sugar-sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces. The ban does not apply to grocery stores, diet sodas or alcoholic beverages. Lawmakers state that the new law will reduce obesity rates in the city while opponents argue that individuals can simply purchase two beverages. Business owners worry the ban will hurt their profits.
As a nurse practitioner, I am a proponent of health promotion and preventative healthcare. What I am not a fan of is forced lifestyle change. Health is a choice. A healthy diet results from intentional food and beverage selections a well as consciously increasing one’s level of physical activity. I don’t think mandating that a smaller size of soda to be sold at Yankee’s games will have an impact on the health of Americans (maybe their wallets since they will have to buy two beverages instead of just one). Being healthy should bring a sense of accomplishment to life. Government mandates will not result in true health and lifestyle change and it’s accompanying sense of pride.
Furthermore, I have a problem with how far laws like this take government involvement into our daily lives. I am well aware that drinking a 40oz Coke will cause me to gain a few lb’s. Let me choose if I want to be fat or not. Should we educate people about the health consequences of drinking 40 ounces of sugar and caffeine? Of course. Should we take away their individual liberty to make the decision to purchase these beverages? No.