Home > Employee Benefits > Bloomberg’s large soda ban not a failure

Bloomberg’s large soda ban not a failure

opEd-drinksThe day before they were to go into effect, a New York Supreme Court judge struck down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s limits on the sale of large sugary drinks in the city. The judge, as reported in the New York Times, called the ban “arbitrary and capricious” using language similar to that of business owners and consumers who fought the ban.

Mayor Bloomberg had proposed the ban on drinks over 16 ounces in size in an effort to combat obesity. Bloomberg was following in the line of many public health advocates who believe that obesity is the greatest threat to good health and the greatest cause of the increasing costs of healthcare and health insurance in America. Bloomberg, who wanted to see his mandate put into effect around the country now will have a fight on his hands simply to succeed in this effort in his city, will appeal the ruling.

So, how can this effort be seen as anything but a failure? That depends upon your perspective. For those who want to tax and regulate bad foods in order to decrease obesity, this is clearly a failure. But for those in the public health community who seek to educate the public about the dangers of consuming large amounts of sugary drinks, Bloomberg’s crusade has to be seen in a more positive light. The conversation created by Bloomberg serves to create a heightened awareness among political, civic and business leaders around the complicated politics of obesity. That conversation will resonate to impact foods served in office kitchens and sodas purchased, or not purchased, by families making everyday consumer decisions. The soda and food companies that spent millions fighting this initiative brought incredible amounts of free publicity to the hazards of sugary drinks, particularly for children. You have to wonder if Mayor Bloomberg had nothing more than this goal in mind when he announced his program.

About the Author

Phil Edmundson is the Chairman and CEO of William Gallagher Associates (WGA), insurance brokers and consultants for businesses with over 30 years in the insurance industry. He manages strategy, talent acquisition and development, and management / acquisitions at WGA.

617.646.0229 | PEdmundson@wgains.com | Connect on LinkedIn | Follow Phil on Twitter @PhilEdmundson and @PoliticsObesity

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