Governtment’s Role in Obesity: Policy

Ever since Mayor Bloomberg announced his plan to limit the size of soft drinks for NY, many have questioned the efficacy of this policy and why government is stepping in. It’s no surprise that obesity causes many problems, which in turn, creates larger medical costs and affects everyone, but is a soft drink size ban the answer? Would it actually stop people from drinking too much sugar-loaded beverages?

From the Register-Mail: “Sugary Drinks Ban” (Galesburg, Illinois)

As of 9-24-12, here’s how it stands:

  • No, the government needs to stay out of my diet choices. 75%
  • Yes, Americans are obese and need these regulations. 13%
  • Let’s wait and see if the New York City ban helps reduce obesity rates. 10%
  • Total votes: 484

From the Wall Street Journal: “What’s the right way to fight obesity?”

TL;DR: interesting points:

  • “Given the personal and economic costs of obesity-currently estimated at $190 billion a year-governments have many reasons to promote the health of their populations.”
  • “…one of the foundational principles of a free-society is self-ownership…if the state is going to abrogate that self-ownership, the burden is on it [the state] to show both that its goals are necessary and that they cannot be achieved in any other way. To claim otherwise…reduces us to little more than functionaries of the state.”
  • “There should be no doubt that many government policies contribute to the obesity epidemic in this country.”
  • “a study in Utica, N.Y., supermarkets showed that beer-drinking households responded to a six-month soft drink tax by buying more beer.”
  • “When a food company launches an unsuccessful new product or campaign, they can change it in a quarter. When a government passes an unsuccessful law, it often sticks around until it has done more damage than we can stand.”