Mayor Mike Bloomberg caught a good deal of flack about his proposed ban on big soda. And for good reason. After all this is (or is supposed to be) a free country isn’t it? If someone wants to drink gallons of soda, boxes of donuts or smoke pack after pack of cigarettes that is their right… Right?
To many, this is a huge blow to their sense of freedom. A step forward in the installation of a nanny-state that not only invades our bedrooms but also our dining out.
But maybe Bloomberg’s ultimate goal was to get debate going. If that is the case, it worked. As a New York Times article noted…
The plan has galvanized a national debate over runaway obesity rates, and New Yorkers who agree with the ban pointed to its potential health benefits, particularly in combating obesity.
…those opposed overwhelmingly cited a sense that Mr. Bloomberg was overreaching with the plan and that consumers should have the freedom to make a personal choice — the exact same points used in an aggressive marketing campaign led by the national soft-drink industry in an effort to beat back the proposal.
What is most striking in the discussion is this infogram from this month’s Mother Jones magazine. It visually shows the explosion in the size of “soda delivery systems”. Not surprisingly it tracks quite well with the explosion in the size of … Americans. The most telling part of the infogram? This one…
Yes, when you went to get a burger at McDonald’s in 1955 the largest size soda you could get was 7oz. If you wanted more you had to, heaven forbid, get up and go buy another. Today, a Kid’s Happy Meal includes 12oz of candy… I mean… Beverage.