Last Friday, Mayor Bloomberg proposed a ban of large sodas in New York City with hopes of reducing obesity. Bloomberg’s focus on healthy eating habits is a step in the right direction. However, merely limiting New Yorkers does not teach individuals how to make the right choices by themselves.
Rather than simply telling New Yorkers what and how much they can and cannot drink, Bloomberg should put more emphasis on why products like 32 oz. sodas are unhealthy.
A good example of prevention over restriction is the display of calorie counts in chain restaurants; consumers can still purchase foods, but they must face the shock value of the calorie content. For example, a consumer might not choose a seemingly healthy Starbucks blueberry scone if they knew it contained 460 calories.
If Bloomberg instead used a similar policy with the amount of sugar in beverages, people could see the consequences of their unhealthy choices. If people knew a 32 oz. Coke had 85 grams of sugar, they might think twice about their daily indulgence.
The average consumer cannot visualize just how much sugar is in their carbonated beverages. If places of purchase had posters listing the sugar quantities and provided a visual, consumers could draw better conclusions on their own. If measures like this were taken, corporations would be forced to create more health-conscious products.
While Bloomberg’s efforts might be a positive step and obesity is a serious issue in New York City, limiting consumers’ choices will not solve the problem. Educating consumers from a young age so they understand the benefits of a healthy diet would be a more effective approach to take.
What were your reactions to Bloomberg’s proposal? I’d love to hear your opinions!