New York City’s recent passing of a ban on the sale of sugary drinks in containers exceeding 16 ounces has caused uproar that has echoed far beyond the five boroughs. But the outcries are not just coming from Coca-Cola and fanatic soda drinkers. The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation have joined in support of a lawsuit by the American Beverage Association, voicing their concern over probable harm to small, minority-owned businesses as a negative byproduct of the law. The ban, which will be implemented in March, does not apply to state-regulated stores like 7-11. The NAACP and Hispanic Federation joint brief points out that this will put small, minority-owned businesses at a disadvantage to their larger competitors, who will retain the right to sell large sugary beverages.
It is evident that the obesity crisis in the U.S. is a serious issue and America needs some sort of intervention. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of American adults and 17% of adolescents and children are obese. Is the New York City soda ban a necessary intervention? The NAACP and Hispanic Federation have recognized the prevalence of obesity within their communities but argue that the ban is not the right solution to this problem. The two groups advocate the development of education and community programs providing support for leading a healthy lifestyle as a better alternative. They may have a difficult time gaining New York Mayor Michael.
Bloomberg’s support behind this alternative. He has said that the city already spends $4 billion each year on medical care for overweight people and endorses the sugary drink ban as a budget-saving solution.
It seems unlikely that a solution will be reached that would satisfy every party involved. Family-owned businesses will be hurt by the upcoming ban on sugary drinks while city taxpayers would be hurt by the creation of new fitness programs in lieu of the ban, as proposed by the NAACP and Hispanic Federation. In the midst of this legal battle, it’s worth encouraging individuals to make a personal effort to monitor their diets carefully and make physical fitness a top priority.