Michael Bloomberg is the Mayor of Manhattan, New York City’s largest borough, and one of the United States top cities with the highest obesity rates amongst both kids and adults. “New York City is experiencing an obesity crisis. Obesity is among the most rapidly growing serious health problems we face as Americans. In the early 1960s it affected only 13 percent of Americans; by 2007-2008 one-third (34 percent) were obese. It is also a leading cause of preventable death, second only to tobacco, and kills 5,800 New York City residents per year” (Farley, 2013). Bloomberg has tried several measures to cut back on the use of unhealthy food and promote exercise in his city in a way to foster good health and lower the obesity rates, but few measures have had success.
In June of 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a public policy proposal that he hoped would cut down on the obesity in his city. His plan was to take sugary drinks over 16. oz off the market. “Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal was intended to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces from New York City eateries, street carts and stadiums is moving forward” (CBS News, 2012).
Bloomberg received harsh criticism from major companies, as well as the entire beverage industry, both who rely heavily on the sale of sugary beverages in order to make a profit, but the diet industry and the Board of Health was on Bloomberg’s side the whole time. “One week before the Board of Health was scheduled to vote on Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to limit the sizes of oversized drinks, Weight Watchers and other diet companies, including The South Beach Diet, Jenny Craig and Bob Greene of The Best Life Diet, are supporting the proposal” (Young, 2012). Dr. Young said that the bill would promote smaller portion sizes, push kids to try healthier alternatives to soft drinks and sweetened sugary fruit juices, and yes, hopefully cut down on New York City’s obesity epidemic.
Not only did the Board of Health and the beverage industry have different viewpoints on how the soda ban would affect New York City, but the population of New York was also split down the middle on the decision, with 52% in favor, and 48% opposing the ban. Ultimately, the soda ban was deemed unconstitutional and rejected, but that has not and will not stop Mayor Bloomberg from trying to fight the growing obesity epidemic in New York.
Since the sugary soda ban, Bloomberg has already proposed a new law in New York City that would raise the legal smoking age to 21, the highest age in the country. Although I do believe that Bloomberg’s soda ban WAS a good idea, and that obesity is a major problem in not only New York, but all across the United States, it is promising to see a politician take such positive strides when it comes to trying to repair the health of his people. Bloomberg has made it clear that obesity is a huge and growing concern in New York City, and despite the soda ban being denied, Bloomberg has said many times that he will continue to make changes to the public policies in New York City if he believes it will benefit the people.
Farley, Thomas. “Reversing the Epidemic.” Http://www.nyc.gov/. NYC Department of Health, n.d. Web. http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/pdf/2012/otf_report.pdf
Mayor Bloomberg’s Soda Ban Proposal to Be Submitted to NYC Health Board Today.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 05 May 2013.
Young, Dr. Lisa. “Diet Industry Supports Mayor Bloomberg’s Proposal to Limit Oversized Beverages.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 06 Sept. 2012. Web. 05 May 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-lisa-young/soda-ban_b_1858245.html