Bloomberg shot down on childhood obesity

Boy measures weight on floor scales
Childhood obesity is a national problem

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg fought a huge problem, childhood obesity. I have no idea how long he thought about the problem, how many meetings he held or how many experts he talked to. Somehow, he decided that one way to combat childhood obesity would be to simply limit the size of sugary soft drinks. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was shot down by State Supreme Court Justice Milton A. Tingling.

From NYT:

In an unusually critical opinion, Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of State Supreme Court in Manhattan called the limits “arbitrary and capricious,” echoing the complaints of city business owners and consumers who had deemed the rules unworkable and unenforceable, with confusing loopholes and voluminous exemptions.

The decision comes at a sensitive time for Mr. Bloomberg, who is determined to burnish his legacy as he enters the final months of his career in City Hall, and his administration seemed caught off guard by the decision. Before the judge ruled, the mayor had called for the soda limits to be adopted by cities around the globe; he now faces the possibility that one of his most cherished endeavors will not come to fruition before he leaves office, if ever.

According to the CDC, the incidence of childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the past 30 years. The data is pretty clear that fat kids become fat adults. This means more diabetes and more heart attacks. This means more high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia. This means more problems with joint pain, knee replacements and breast cancers. It doesn’t even go into the psychological aspects.

I’m not sure whether this judge was right or wrong. All I know is that we need to do something to start combating childhood obesity. Healthy children will make healthy adults. A regular Mountain Dew has 170 cal in a 12-ounce can. A regular 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has 140 cal. For a child who may require 1800-2200 calories a day, one soft drink makes up around 10% of their caloric needs. Who has only one soda per day? This is the problem. If we want to control healthcare costs in the United States, we have to become a healthier nation. One way to become healthier is to become thinner.

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One Response

  1. I imagine many kids have 1 or no sodas a day. We allow only
    one on weekend days and they often drink diet soda.
    Bloomberg is proof to those who fear that healthcare will become
    a vehicle to take over all aspects of human society.
    Banning a cup is useless. What’s the end point? Are donuts
    next? How much will a bureaucracy of
    sugar police cost New Yorkers?

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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