The Daily Currant, an online fake newspaper similar to The Onion, came out with a satirical article criticizing Mayor Bloomberg and the “Big Gulp” soda ban in New York. In the article, Mayor Bloomberg is at a pizzeria and asks for a second slice. The owner tells him he’s reached his slice limit. “I’m sorry sir. We’re serious,” Benito insisted. “We’ve decided that eating more than one piece isn’t healthy for you, and so we’re forbidding you from doing it.” He suggests the Mayor visit several restaurants if he’s still hungry; that way he’d be at least burning more calories from walking.
Despite this fictitious nature of the article, the Daily Current brings up one side of a hot topic debate lately; How much of a say should government have in the American diet? Using the Soda Ban as a base for my approach, I’ve explored multiple sides to the issue. Opposingviews.com holds this opinion:
The health board, the judge stated, is not authorized to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of controlling chronic disease.” In other words, even (supposedly) good intentions cannot justify abuse of government authority.
But what other intention could Bloomberg have besides genuine concern for the skyrocketing obesity rates in the slums of NYC? A conspiracy for increased government control? Doubt it. I find it hard to believe that the health board doesn’t have the authority to limit/ban an item to control a chronic disease. Cigarettes are banned for people 18 and under to control lung disease and cancer. Drinking five Big Gulps of Mountain Dew undeniably contribute to obesity, diabetes, and malnutrition.
A systems approach needs to be taken when addressing the issue of obesity and general malnutrition. Parents and children need to be educated on how to make healthy decisions, and healthy alternatives need to be available for them to choose, which would actually increase consumer freedom.
For me, I don’t necessarily think that government control is a bad thing if laws are built on good intentions. If the FDA really has the health of the American people at heart, well researched decisions can only improve the quality of life of the people.
I think that Bloomberg is offering a simple solution to a very complicated problem. What do you guys think?