New York's Soda Ban Overruled – Defeat of the "Nanny State" or Public Health Setback?

0 thoughts on “New York's Soda Ban Overruled – Defeat of the "Nanny State" or Public Health Setback?”

  1. This is an interesting issue… psychologically, I wouldn’t want to think my rights are being infringed upon by the government making choices for me on my own consumption patterns. I also know lower income individuals and families need to rely on unhealthier foods because they don’t have access to or cannot afford the fresher, healthier alternatives, and so a ban like this, without simultaneously addressing the access to food issue, does imply a disregard for the situations of millions of Americans. (Although one could argue banning soda doesn’t eliminate the unhealthy eating options available, it is more the mentality, in my opinion). However… obesity and chronic illness plagues the US (and other) health systems, costing everyone millions of dollars – so by that argument, shouldn’t we be fighting to eliminate the causes any way we can? When I think about it in a vacuum, it infuriates me that peoples own choices to live unhealthy lifestyles will cost me money – whether it be eating poorly, smoking, excessive drinking, what have you. But we’re not in a vacuum, and a lot of these problems reflect deeper issues with poverty, stigma, lack of education… so many things.

    I almost always err on the side of education and empowerment. Let’s remove soda and unhealthy snacks from schools, sure, but as a whole, we should be teaching kids (& adults!) about healthy eating and the problem with huge portion sizes. But more importantly, the government should also be working to provide the alternatives they promote, so healthy and affordable food is available to everyone, regardless of where they live and how much they make. Until we work to provide alternatives, it won’t really matter whether bad foods are banned, because while it might stop people eating them, they’ll just be going hungry–and will be unhealthy either way.

    Great blog Janina! Very thought provoking.

  2. This is very thought provoking! I can understand the uproar response to the government’s decision as it would infringe on the rights of the American people to decide for themselves. But at the same time, the law will only regulate portion sizes and not the entire product of soda itself. The reason behind the opposition is fueled by these big sugar drink companies, as you’ve stated, and should only prove the point that they are economically, and not health, driven. I also feel that the people have been given the ‘chance’ (for lack of a better word) to choose healthier alternatives for a while now. I see it as a ‘parenting’ tool but for a nation, or in this case, a city, parallel to what we call ‘tough love’. In the end it is in the benefit of the people themselves (for both their mental, in regards to self esteem, and physical health). Still I will always believe that education regarding unhealthy vs. healthy eating (and more so policies on junk-food advertising!) should be more enforced and used as a main initiative to curb the obesity rise, especially in younger children and in schools. Rather than taking something away, as we will always want what we can’t have…
    A very good blog post! It’s made me think.

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