Thursday, May 31, 2012

Banning large sodas in New York

New York Mayor Michael Blumberg has announced plans to ban the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, as part of an effort to combat rising obesity.

The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages. And it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

Corinne Krupp, an associate professor of public policy at Duke University, weighed in today, calling the idea "silly."

"Making large sizes unavailable will not stop people from buying multiple sodas; it will just inconvenience them," Krupp said in a statement issued by Duke.

"The root causes of obesity are far deeper and more complex than just soda consumption, and targeting a particular industry is unfair. What's next? Limiting the size of potato chip bags to five chips? Requiring that candy bars only come in bite sizes? I don’t believe this will be an effective tool in combating obesity.”

Dr. Gilbert Ross, medical director of the American Council on Science and Health, agrees that research demonstrates there is no correlation between per capita soda consumption and weight.

“There is no solid evidence showing that restricting sodas to a certain size will have the slightest impact on obesity,” Ross said. “In addition, enforcement of such a regulation will not only be extremely complex, but it will also be very costly and difficult to interpret because of the confusing exceptions to the proposed ban.”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

West Wing Walking

"The West Wing" may be my all-time favorite television show.

If you're a fan too, you'll remember all the problems worked out by the cerebral president and his fast-talking staff as they walked the halls of the White House.

So I was fun to see some of the cast reunited -- if only for a few minutes -- in this "tongue-in-cheek public service announcement about the health benefits of walking."