Mark Bittman: Public health policies at work

From the New York Times

December 18, 2012 -- Mark Bittman's op-ed on the need for dietary seat belts. 


"Philadelphia hasn’t allowed soda or sugary drinks in vending machines in schools since 2004, and its schools no longer have deep-fryers; the Food Trust (as I wrote in 2011) has pushed healthier food in corner stores. And New York has, among other things, banned trans fats from restaurants, made it easier for low-income people to shop at farmers’ markets and run a highly visible ad campaign that tells subway riders, for example, the number of miles they’d have to walk to account for that sugary drink.

Like Philadelphia, New York has come close to passing a soda tax, which has raised consciousness about the dangers of sugary drinks. The so-called Big Gulp Ban (which will not, sadly, affect actual Big Gulps) will be implemented in March; if it hangs around, New York’s obesity statistics may slide even further below the national average before too long.

These are dietary seat belts, and seat belts save lives. And only a jerk would say: “It’s a slippery slope toward telling me what to do. If I want to ride without a seat belt, it’s my right!”"


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