While much of the country has ridiculed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his ban on large sugary drinks, Cambridge officials have proposed going one step further and banning all sodas from restaurants. People will of course be able to buy shots of alcohol and fried food items. However, the request for a coke would be turned down as a matter of public health.
The city council resolution states that “the City Manager be and hereby is requested to refer the matter of a ban on soda and sugar-sweetened beverages in restaurants to the Cambridge Public Health Department for a recommendation.”
I have previously expressed why I view such measures as the start down a slippery slope of government regulation of the lifestyle choices of adults. I do believe that people have a right to make bad choices and drinking soda is fairly low on the list of vices in my view.
Mayor Henrietta Davis fulfilled the stereotype of a liberal nanny state, observing that “It seems like the way we have to go . . . look at the temptations that are out there for people. See if that can be easier on all of us by not having bottomless pits of soda.” Is that now the function of a mayor in Cambridge? To look at the temptations out there for citizens? Under that approach, Cambridge will be busy banning fried foods, large servings, alcohol, and other temptations before moving on to pornography, reckless Internet dating, and bungee jumping.
John Adams must be spinning in his grave.
25 thoughts on “Massachusetts Proposal Would Ban All Sodas From Restaurants”
CLH, I did childcare for a long time, very successfully, in my life. I found that it was easy to keep the kids eating well and avoiding junk by two means: ONE, provide good food and let them choose it. THEY ALWAYS DO CHOOSE THE GOOD FOOD! TWO: involve THEM in the choice, purchase, preparation, and provision of the good food.
Also, when I produced and directed a play with kids from a real deprived inner city school, I came by with snacks on Saturdays in order to induce them all to show up for Saturday rehearsals. The first time I came, I had only moderately sweet punch, water, a variety of cookies and some bananas. The second time, fewer cookies, more bananas, and apples, with water and fruit juice, no punch. The third time, just a few ginger snaps, lots of fruit of all sorts, some green peppers, carrots, fruit juice, tomato juice, water and unsweetened iced tea. Fourth time, one bag of ginger snaps (for 16 kids), all sorts of fruits and cut up vegetables, only water to drink, and a spinach dip for the veggies. THEY NEVER ASKED FOR MORE COOKIES!!
Malisha- I agree. I did oversimplify that. There are important factors to be addressed in obesity that are seperate from simple education. Availability of healthy alternatives that are actually cheap and can compete with the convenience of fast food would be, in my opinion, a good place to start. The broader social issues are part of the much larger debate of government powers. I’d rather die of a heart attack than have someone tell me what to eat, frankly. Health care is another issue, but I think healthcare is probably the best source of education regarding healthy eating habits.
Right, CLH, but in addition to educating people about what the natural consequences of their actions will be, also acknowledge that at a certain point, people need some enabling, some room in which to exercise their life interests (such as the life interest in good health) and that room can only be provided by a less-than-abusive environment IN GENERAL.
Obesity correlates with (not in any particular order): (a) child sexual abuse; (b) poverty; (c) lack of decent medical care; (d) low socioeconomic class; (e) certain chronic illnesses; (f) inadequate housing and (g) depression and other mood disorders, including many medications used for mental illnesses.
Malisha and Mike S. said it for me- authoritarian vs. common sense approach. Yes, HFCS is bad for you. So is booze and nicotine and fatty foods and artificial sweetners and preservatives and… add to the list at your discretion.
Education is the solution, not dictation. I eat what I want to eat, even knowing full well what the cost is. Then again, I also exercise obsessivley, but in the end, I’ll have to make the choice to either continue to eat unhealthy and face the health consequences, or to change my habits. Choices, and consequenecs, are what it comes down. Educate people on the consequences of their dietary habits, and let the (potato)chips fall where they may.
I agree on the forced auto insurance. Also, malpractice insurance for doctors and lawyers — there is a public protection issue involved.
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