It is time for the government to stop trying to tell us how to live our lives.
In his latest attempt to combat childhood obesity, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed to ban the sale of sugary drinks over 16 ounces in restaurants, street vendors, and movie theaters.
Although many overweight New York City citizens may benefit from such a plan, it is completely unreasonable and unfair for Bloomberg to dictate what foods and drinks they are allowed to consume.
Childhood obesity is undoubtedly a major epidemic in the United States today, and remains an issue of concern. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects nearly 17% of all children and adolescents in the U.S.,triple the rate from last generation.
While it is clear that plenty of work must be done to fight childhood obesity, banning super-sized soda is not the answer. It’s a matter of freedom. Bloomberg has already passed laws against smoking in parks, beaches, and other public areas as well as enforcing several other notable health regulations.
While most sugary sodas provide little nutritional value, it is not Bloomberg’s responsibility to tell people what they should and should not be drinking, despite any negative consequences that may be associated with it.
Besides, why stop at banning just soda? Last time I checked, Big Macs and Whoppers lead to obesity as well so, by the same logic, the mayor should shut down all the McDonalds and Burger Kings in New York City.
The same goes for donuts, ice cream, and all other foods high in calories and fat. Fast-food chains are already required to display the nutritional information for all their food, so people know exactly how many grams of saturated fat they are ingesting each time they visit one of these popular franchises. Bloomberg can inform people about the detriments of such foods and drinks, but he cannot mandate a ban on them.
An alternative plan that could help lower obesity rates would be to monitor the food served at New York City public schools. As the mayor, Bloomberg has every right to ensure that only healthy food, and not soda, is being served in school cafeterias without invading the privacy of citizens.
While Bloomberg certainly has good intentions, it would be a complete invasion of privacy and freedom to disallow the sale of sugary drinks in large quantities. The government can affect change in a large number of different ways, but deciding what people can eat or drink on a daily basis is not their responsibility.