By Robert Schlesinger |
On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration announced plans to prohibit the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 fluid ounces at certain vendors such as movie theaters, food carts, and restaurants. Grocery stores and convenience stores are exempt from the ban, as are diet sodas, milk shakes, and alcoholic beverages. Bloomberg, who has enacted other bold public health policies in the past such as a smoking ban on New York City’s parks, beaches, public plazas, and boardwalks, defended the prohibition. “Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible,’” he said, “New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something, I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”
Indeed, the rise in obesity has a been a looming challenge for not just New York, but the nation at large, costing Americans not just in their health, but economically in paying for the treatments of diseases caused by being overweight. However, opponents of the measure think Mayor Bloomberg is going too far. They believe it is up to individuals to choose how much soda to drink, and the policy is an example of the “nanny state” encroaching on personal freedom. Should the sale of large sugary drinks be prohibited? Here is the Debate Club’s take:
Dawn Sweeney President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association
Art Carden Assistant Professor of Economics at Rhodes College.
Patrick Basham Co-author 'Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade'