Policies that gain controversy in their engagement with obesity are helpful for making a very public (yet uncomfortably avoided) issue further visible. It's hard to talk about obesity, private or public. Policies like the soda rule can be vehicles for those discussions to take place.
I applaud Mayor Bloomberg's dedication and willingness to take a stand against opponents to the ban and all the name calling criticism he has received. At the same time, banning supersize soda alone misses the point.
New York City's Board of Health recently approved Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to limit the sizes of sweetened beverages. The regulation restricts the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas and delis.
The mayor of New York City is not banning the sale of soda. Nor is he telling consumers that they can't drink soda. Rather, he is calling attention to how much should be considered a reasonable amount to drink at a time.
Someday, you will be able to tell your grandchildren that in the olden days, you could go to a special store where you could buy 64 ounces of soda in one single container. Their eyes will bulge and their jaws will drop.
Would one describe the policy as a ban or a limit? Would one include that the larger beverage would be available at certain locales but not others (i.e., a ban at certain locales)? Would you include 16-plus ounces in the question, or describe it simply as large?
Rather than alienate Americans from the freedom, perhaps the Bloomberg administration might attempt to work with the federal government and other groups to change the farm subsidy programs to reflect healthier eating habits.
This law is a gesture to give our children a chance at freedom, the freedom to move their bodies run, play and jump instead of being jailed in a body inhibited by obesity. It's our responsibility to protect our kids.