New York Major Michael Bloomberg has made it his goal to emphasize the importance of public health. He's launched campaigns and regulations prohibiting smoking in restaurants, bars, and parks, requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information, as well as banning trans fats. These are just a few of the changes he has made during his last three terms.
But did Bloomberg go too far when he proposed a law which would have banned selling sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces?
Apparently so, when his law was rejected by a state appeals court on Tuesday. The American Beverage Association served as the lead plaintiff in challenging Bloomberg's law, and it was a victory for drink producers when the court decision was declared that it "violated the state principle of separation of powers."
This is just one of many attempts by political figures and health businesses to decrease obesity in the United States. But accomplishing this is nearly impossible with gigantic soda companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo fighting to keep large sizes.
Bloomberg announced that since March 2013, when the law was rejected, 2,000 New Yorkers have died from diabetes. This is no surprise to the health community, and it is projected that numbers will increase. In fact, the obesity rate has increased from last year's rate of 26.2% to this year's rate of 27.1%.
With the end of his term coming up, the mayor's office was asked if Bloomberg would continue fighting for the ban; the mayoral spokeswomen stated that, "The route that we have gone is through the Board of Health." Bloomberg is hopeful that this ban will be reinstated someday.
But did the court make the wrong ruling?
Many agree with the ruling, which concluded the ban the state's principal of separation of powers. Dunkin Donuts stated that "We have maintained our position from the beginning that any regulations to eliminate New Yorkers' rights to purchase beverages in sizes of their choice are not in the public's interest."
However, others argue against the court's decision, believing that big businesses should only have so much control over the health and well-being of our country. Michael Cardozo, the city's corporation counsel, said that "We believe the judge was wrong in rejecting this important public health initiative. We also feel he took an unduly narrow view of the Board of Health's powers" and that "We are moving forward immediately with our appeal."
With almost 30% of the country obese, it seems clear that many Americans do not know how to live healthy lifestyles and may need the government to step in. America is the world's most obese country and the issue has gotten out of hand. Obesity is increasing in the youth population, causing younger patients to seek weight loss surgeries, even though it is dangerous for still-developing bodies.
A recent report even concluded that within two decades, over 44% of the United States will be obese. And with health care costs continuing to rise because of companion diseases, our economy will continue to suffer.