[…] The ban would apply to any beverage that contains more than 10 calories per 8 ounces, except for milk products, milk substitutes like soy milk and rice milk, and fruit juices without added sugar. A 20-ounce sugar-sweetened drink can contain the equivalent of as many as 16 packets of sugar. […] In fiscal year 2009, New Yorkers received $2.7 billion in food stamp benefits and spent $75 million to $135 million of that on sugary drinks, the city said. – AP
Hail Mayor Michael Bloomberg, yet again, for showing courage and a lot of tough love.
Why should taxpayers support buying sugary drinks that are horrible for people’s health, especially kids, but also are a prime reason for obesity?
The request, made to the United States Department of Agriculture, which finances and sets the rules for the food-stamp program, is part of an aggressive anti-obesity push by the mayor that has also included advertisements, stricter rules on food sold in schools and an unsuccessful attempt to have the state impose a tax on the sugared drinks.
Public health experts greeted Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal cautiously. George Hacker, senior policy adviser for the health promotion project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said a more equitable approach might be to use educational campaigns to dissuade food-stamp users from buying sugared drinks.
“The world would be better, I think, if people limited their purchases of sugared beverages,” Mr. Hacker said. “However, there are a great many ethical reasons to consider why one would not want to stigmatize people on food stamps.”
The mayor requested a ban for two years to study whether it would have a positive impact on health and whether a permanent ban would be merited.
“In spite of the great gains we’ve made over the past eight years in making our communities healthier, there are still two areas where we’re losing ground – obesity and diabetes,” the mayor said in a statement. “This initiative will give New York families more money to spend on foods and drinks that provide real nourishment.” …
Sorry, but Mr. Hacker sounds like a hack.
Nobody is trying to “stigmatize people on food stamps,” but simply focus what is paid for through a government program. As I’ve written before, I think a tax on all junk food should be levied, but the food lobby is too powerful for that to manifest.
The fact is that health care costs are directly related to the amount of crap we ingest and the way we live our lives, which includes our food intake, how much we ingest, as well as the stuff we are addicted to that’s terrible for us. Nobody has a perfect diet, but as our health care concerns merge, because of the reality of cost sharing, at some point the obese person next to you, who is making horrific choices, ends up costing us all, as does the smoker.
There are emotional reasons for why we overeat or have substance issues that includes food, but then there are addictive substances in our food that end up controlling us if we don’t break the cycle. Sugar is one of the first things to moderate if you want to gain control over your moods, but also your weight. Processed foods is another, but I could go on forever on this subject. I became health conscious when I was in my later teens to try to grab control of my migraines, and guess what, I won.
Exercise is one way to fight fat, but it also helps build strength, which is very important once you’re over 45. The only sure way to keep your weight and health in check is to eat less, but also eat healthier foods, though everyone is going to splurge now and then. Picking Saturday and Sunday to relax helps you feel less deprived, though we’re not talking about binging here. But the benefits of exercise and working out, especially cardio, but with weight training added, is that it build strength in your entire body. For women over 40, this is critical, especially to keep from getting saddle bag arms! New studies even show that women working up a sweat can cut their risk of ovarian cancer.
Bloomberg’s proposal is challenging, especially when a parent who’s been out of work wants to buy treats or junk food for a child’s birthday party. What we can do about exemptions I have no idea, but this also seems to be one example that does not fit the average purchase.
Much of America is fat, lazy and under-exercised. With winter and the holiday season approaching, no doubt the challenge gets more fierce.
There is simply nothing more important for kids than starting early on a healthy food lifestyle mentality, particularly when it comes to junk food and sugary drinks.
This post has been updated.