Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Such a flap! You’re probably aware of the New York City ordinance banning soda servings larger than sixteen ounces. Mayor Bloomberg introduced it in an attempt to reduce incidence of obesity and type two diabetes, especially among young people.

Since then, opponents have raised a slew of objections, mainly along the lines of nanny government. Now comes a particularly creative protest: the rule is racist. The NAACP's New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation have joined beverage makers and sellers in trying to stop the rule from taking effect March 12. A hearing is set Wednesday. Critics say the soda rule will unduly harm minority businesses and "freedom of choice in low-income communities."

When I first heard of Bloomberg’s quest, I assumed he was doing it simply to publicize the hazards of massive soft drink ingestion, since the rule is clearly unenforceable: if a sixteen-ounce Coke doesn’t satisfy you, all you need to do is buy another.

The issue made me wonder why we feel change needs to come from legislation rather than from grass-roots education. Why do we feel it’s up to government to improve our diets or clean our air or decelerate climate change? Considering this nation was founded by hyperdedicated activists, how have we become so passive?

The harm we suffer from imbibing ten gallons of high-fructose syrupy soft drinks annually is negligible compared to our astonishing passivity. If Mayor Bloomberg is serious about improving New Yorkers’ health, he’d recommend they get up off their La-Z-Boys and get active in their communities.


  1. Annual consumption of soft drinks is far higher than ten gallons. I read that for the 12-29 age group it is 160 gallons. Sugar consumption may be a greater health risk than cigarettes.

    Sugar addicts are disproportionately costing the economy. Government has a valid basis to address this problem. Limiting the volume will increase the cost of over consumption but not penalize the temperate.

    If people weren't so fat from sugar they might chose to get more exercise.

  2. The NAACP connection surprised me.

    It seems people will not give up their addictive freedoms no matter the cost to their well-being.

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