New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a new plan to combat obesity, and the plan has people talking.
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.
Mika Brzezinski, a staunch supporter of the plan, discussed the mayor's proposal with the table.
"[Drinking large sugary beverages] ...is like drinking a big glass of sugar..of poison. I think it’s a great idea. Does anybody want to challenge me on that?," she said.
Morning Joe regular Donny Deutsch supported Mika's position in saying: "The calories in those huge, huge drinks..it’s a great move. We do things to keep kids from smoking. What’s the difference?"
What are the odds the plan could become law? The city's Board of Health has to approve the plan, and the mayor has appointed all the members, so it seems to stand a pretty darn good chance.
Former White House Advisor for Health Policy, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, joined the table later in the show with Dr. Nancy Snyderman and agreed with the mayor's actions but thinks it should be part of a broader health framework.
"It’s a whole variety of changes that we need, and we do need to change our attitude. I think your mayor is bold…I do think we should think of this as the end. I think this is part of a complex approach that we need. And I do think what he’s saying is right. He’s doing what we did about smoking," he said.
Dr. Snyderman agreed and Joe Scarborough also added that the country's schools should offer more rigorous exercise for kids.
The mayor's proposal wouldn't include grocery stores or convenience stores need not worry but the Times also notes bodegas may be included: "Corner stores and bodegas would be affected if they are defined by the city as “food service establishments.” Those stores can most easily be identified by the health department letter grades they are required to display in their windows," the Times reports.
What do you think of the mayor's plan? Do you think it's a smart idea?
Update: The New York Beverage Association wrote to the MoJoe blog, saying "The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates."