Mayor Bloomberg was right to ban XL sodas in New York City
First of all, the ban on sodas over 16 oz in New York City is ludicrous in its single mindedness. It’s ludicrous because the ban says nothing about still being able to buy a gallon of ice cream, jumbo popcorn, Twinkies, a 40 oz. malt liquor, or three 8 oz. Mountain Dews . However this new measure is a step in the right direction in fighting a war against obesity and diabetes. Here are some scary facts:
- Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes affect more than 1 billion people worldwide, including 100 million Americans and 50% of Americans over the age of 65.
- More than half of Americans are overweight and 1/3 of Americans can be classified as clinically obese.
- 24 million Americans have Type 2 Diabetes and 1 in 3 unaware that they have it
- Every 10 seconds an American dies from diabetes related causes.
- Diabetes is now the 3rd leading cause of death, but death certificates don’t list diabetes or hyperglycemia as the underlying cause of heart attacks, strokes or fatal infections. Nor do they consider the role of obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation in these conditions. If they did, it’s quite possible that diabetes and obesity would not only be the leading cause of disease, but also the leading cause of death.
- 1/3 of people born in 2010 will develop diabetes at some point in their life
- A recent Yale study indicated that nearly one in four kids between the ages of 4 and 18 have pre-diabetes (glucose intolerance). Some regional studies show Type 2 diabetes in kids has jumped from less than 5% before 1994 to 50% in 2004.
- 10% of children between the ages of 2-5 are clinically obese
- From 1993 to 2008, the number of people in the world with diabetes increased seven-fold from 35 million to 240 million, and is expected to rise to 380 million by 2030. This is ten times the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS worldwide. In the U.S., the incidence of diabetes is projected to increase to 44 million in the year 2034.
- The direct and indirect healthcare costs of Type 2 diabetes were $174 billion in 2007. The cost of obesity in that same year was $113 billion. So the total cost of diabesity to society can be conservatively estimated at nearly $300 billion per year.
- To put that in perspective, diabesity has cost the U.S. $3 trillion over the past decade. That’s three times the estimated cost of fixing our entire health care system. And it’s only going to get worse. the projected cost of diabetes alone is expected to rise to more than $330 billion by 2034.
I wholeheartedly believe in an individual’s right to choose and consume whatever they choose, but as we can see most people are choosing poorly. While Mayor Bloomberg may be wrong to trample on the rights of individuals if you look at the big picture and think of the spirit of the ban, maybe it will make people think twice about their habits. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the health crisis in America is at a desperate spot. Soda should not be singled out as the lone scapegoat and it will not turn the tide of obesity and diabetes, but hopefully it will make people think about why exactly a billionaire politician would be worried so much about what people are drinking.