Soda ban would address obesity

By Mofida Abdelmageed
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Graphic by Daisy Gomez

Graphic by Daisy Gomez

New York City is sometimes referred to as a “fat,” rather than “fit,” city. In 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported a plan to ban the sale of sodas and other sugary beverages in sizes larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and other eateries. On July 30, however, a state appeals court rejected his plan, saying that he had overstepped his authority.

Some New Yorkers applauded the appeals court’s decision, but they do not understand the major health consequences that occur after continuously drinking soda for long periods of time. Bloomberg’s care and concern for his people is important, and his goal was to decrease obesity rates in New York. “Keep in mind, we’re trying to save the lives of these kids,” he said earlier this year.

According to a 2011 study by the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults have diabetes in the United States. 18.8 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, with another 7 million undiagnosed. In addition, 79 million people have prediabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of children between five and 17 years old are obese. Among adults over 20, that number sits at 35.9 percent. This is a dramatic increase from 2000, when numbers for children and adult obesity both hovered around 30 percent.

With the ban, Bloomberg hoped obesity rates in New York would decrease. New York state is ranked as number 7 for obesity and number 13 for youth diabetes among the 50 states. The children are the most at-risk because they are often following their parent’s example. Bloomberg also banned soda and sugary drinks from schools to promote healthy eating and drinking for children.

Some people believe they should be able to eat and drink as they please. And others prefer unhealthy food and drinks because these products are often cheaper.

These people have some reasonable points, but there is significant scientific information that supports the fact that sugary drinks and unhealthy food can lead to major health problems. Obesity rates are constantly increasing, and it can lead to kidney problems, heart disease, high blood pressure and many other major health issues. People who eat and drink poorly are also more likely to develop diabetes. If the ban were allowed to take effect, it could help people avoid these health complications.

In addition, some people do not understand how expensive medical bills can be. Eating and drinking unhealthy foods and drinks can complicate an individual’s life. The proposed ban would not have taken away freedom; rather it would have helped people avoid an unhealthy life.

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