The New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban of limiting the sale of large-size sodas and sugary drinks. This proposal will continue as the city Board of Health unanimously voted in favor. In addition, city residents are freely allowed to comment on the New York Information Center Website of their opinions of the proposed bill (Click on the link, “Proposed Rules” link on the left, the proposed bill is under “Chapter 6 – Food Units (Agency DOHMH)“).

Many NYC residents may be outraged and confused by this suggestion. Not only does it take away one’s freedom but also steps on the first amendment of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” However, in the Mayor’s defense, this is merely another stepping stone to protect people’s health and “The court has never struck down a health measure that was designed to protect people from unsafe diets or unsafe foods.” (New York University law professor Rick Hills).

“This is something we think we have the legal authority to do. We¹re not taking away anybody’s right to do something; we’re simply making it different for them in how they do it.” – Mayor Bloomberg on CNN

“The city spends $4 billion a year on medical care for overweight people, he said.” – CNN reporting on Mayor Bloomberg

New York City has been a strong advocate of promoting better health for the city residents as early as 2010. In October 24, 2011, the New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley states in a press release that “The majority of New York City adults are now overweight or obese, as are 4 in 10 elementary school children and the health consequences are staggering.” They even promoted for a better health by launching “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign to reduce high sugar-caloric in-takes.

“Pouring on the Pounds” campaign on Food Day

“Pouring on the Pounds” campaign poster on October 24, 2011 to promote better health and to challenge city residents to live a “sugar-free” lifestyle for one week.

In October 7, 2010, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor David A. Paterson of NY had requested help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to exclude sugary drinks from a list of exempt purchases with nation’s food stamp.

As you can note, the mayor has been adamant of promoting public health, decreasing obesity epidemic, and reducing medical costs for treating the side effects of obesity which is often caused by poor choices of food and large in-take of empty calories. The support for Mayor’s suggested ban on sugary drinks are numerously favorable . Something also to note is that the members of the Board of Health are appointed by the mayor. In which, several news channels are reporting that with this correlation, the proposed ban is expected to be favored and initiated by next spring.

Anti-Obesity Initiative. Click on the picture for a list statements in favor for the proposal provided by various people such as professors, folk singer, author, journalist and writer.

Back to the original topic. The mayor proposed a limit in size of selling or purchasing sugary drinks.

“According to a recent NY1/Marist poll, 53 percent of New Yorkers surveyed think the ban is a bad idea, while 42 percent support it.” – NY1 News and Time Warner Cable Inc.

Bennett Gershman, a constitutional law professor at Pace University, argued the ban would afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. – CBS News

McDonald’s restaurants issued a statement saying, “Public health issues cannot be effectively addressed through a narrowly focused and misguided ban. This is a complex topic, and one that requires a more collaborative and comprehensive approach.” – CNN

If this proposal is approved, the city will have to take this law into effect six months after it is passed issued by the Board of Health. Restaurants will have nine months before they face a fine of two hundred dollars if they do not follow the ban.

  • CNN accurately reports and covers the issue. It initially states the problem of the proposed bill and then further explains the reasons of the ban by stating direct quotes from Mayor Bloomberg. Also, it provides opposing views such as stating that consumption of sugary drinks do create obesity however, Center for Disease Control and Protection does not limit to one substance. CNN also provides opinions from McDonalds and Coca-Cola. CNN lists several opinions and statement from credible sources. At the end of the report, CNN also provides the highlights of mayor’s accomplishment in promoting public health.
  • CBS News starts off the report by questioning the readers of what the mayor may initiate next if this proposed ban of sugary drinks takes into effect. CBS news gives the readers the insight to the legal issues of the mayor’s proposal. The report presents two opposing views and illustrates legal challenges the ban will face. Contributing to the different legal views of the proposed ban are two New York law professors. CBS News does not show favoritism towards the ban but points out the legal complications that the ban may face.
  • NY1 is a local NYC news channel. It informs the citizens what the ban is all about. This report has a video which is two minutes with a similar transcript text below the video.
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