It’s My Soda And I’ll Drink If I Want To..
Being a news reporter, I rarely get a chance to voice my personal opinion. I often keep quiet about controversial topics which always leads to good arguments between me and my friends. However, once in a while a story comes out that I can't ignore and I have to speak out about. I hit that point this morning. I can honestly say a news report out of New York made me sick to my stomach.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a ban on all drinks containing sugar that are larger than 16 ounces. This would affect restaurants, food carts on Manhattan streets, ball park concession stands and even movie theaters. It would not touch diet sodas, alcoholic beverages, fruit juices or beverages containing milk. Yeah, I am not kidding.
The ban could take effect in March of 2013 and establishments that don't follow the rules will be subject to a hefty $200 fine. Mayor Bloomberg says his reasoning behind the proposed ban lies with the ever growing obesity rate in the country for both children and adults.
I, for one, am totally outraged. Why can't people be responsible enough to make their own decisions about what they consume or what they don't consume? It's time people took responsibility for their actions. I can speak on this topic from experience. I am not a thin guy. In fact, I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Obesity is something I have been dealing with for several years and as of 2012, I am finally getting it under control. I've been on a diet since February and have seen 53 pounds drop off so far. I still have a lot more to lose, but I have made my decision to take full control of my once bad habits.
But I don't blame Ronald McDonald for getting me fat. I don't blame the Coca-Cola Corporation for making me have a 54 waist! I don't have any beef with Taco Bell on why I can't buy my clothes at a "regular" store! This was all my doing. My responsibility. So why should Mayor Bloomberg or anyone for that matter, swoop in and tell me what I can and can't eat?! I love going to the movies and getting that huge soda and popcorn. Shouldn't I have the right to do so? If I had a hard day at the office and want to indulge in a 64 ounce Big Gulp of Vanilla Coke, isn't that my choice?
I was a soda junkie. I would drink Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Sprite almost daily - sometimes multiple cans or bottles. I am not planning to sue the soft drink manufacturers. Why should I? It was me who made that choice. It's one of our liberties to do what we want to our bodies. If you want to be fat, then be fat. If you want to be thin, be thin!
A recent study shows that by the year 2030, more than half the US population will be overweight or obese. While these are scary figures that are costing billions in healthcare, it should still be up to the individual to control what he or she is eating. Parents should also regulate what their kids are eating to stave off problems. It's not Roy Rogers or Pizza Hut who should be in control here. It's you. You control what goes into your mouths.
The proposed ban wouldn't affect grocery stores nor would the rule limit establishments from offering free refills in smaller cups. But imagine being at the ballgame and you're told the only cup they have is 16 ounces and you would have to keep getting up for refills. Same thing with the movies.
Attacking sugary drinks isn't the answer. While I understand not having soda machines in elementary schools, good education is the key here. The best way we can combat obesity is through education of how to eat right and exercise. Taking away our freedom to buy what we want is crossing the line.