It's war now.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lobbed the first cannon ball last week when he proposed banning the sale of large portions of "sugary drinks" in his city's restaurants, movie theaters and even street carts.
It's one of the favorite fronts in the war on obesity, so far marked mostly by softball education on one hand and the lamentations of many public health advocates about our ever-expanding waistlines on the other.
There are serious consequences to obesity. Unfortunately, no one seems to have good solutions. Mayor Bloomberg decided something had to be done and took action. It's really in his DNA to do so, having had good success with a similar ban on public smoking.
The media are full of articles, commentary, and angry op-eds about the soda ban (the NYT has collected many opinions), so real clarity is hard to come by. But, it's pretty clear what the two armies will look like.
On one side we have the Restaurant Association, the beverage industry (remember the defeat of the soda tax in 2010 in New Jersey?), and all be free or die believers; and on the other public health advocates and many nonprofits with health themes (see this news release from the United Way of New York City).
It's a big financial issue for several industries, and they'll fight back hard. But will nonprofit health organizations be in favor of this kind of government help and/or intervention? Will the soda wars become as nasty or dangerous as the cigarette war was? Can overeating be turned around like smoking or safe sex?
Let me know what you think, especially if you work in a nonprofit that addresses health issues. Take the poll below, and do leave your ideas in the comments.
- New York City Mayor Plans to Ban Big Soda - About.com's Guide to Nutrition.
- Nanny State - Great Cartoon at About.com's Political Humor blog.
- Soda and Drink Guidelines - About.com's Guide to Pediatrics.
Photo credit: Irochka/Bigstock