Fighting Obesity in Maryland: The Big-Sized Soda Ban

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The father of toxicology, Paraselsus, said, “the dose makes the poison.”

Obesity has emerged as an important public health problem around the world. Two third of adults and nearly one third of children in the United States are overweight or obese. Studies have shown that overweight and obesity are important risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature death.

One Mega-sized” soda of 64-ounces contains 210 grams of sugar and around 750 calories.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) are the primary source of added sugars in the average American’s diet. The serving size for a midsized SSB has increased over time:  from 6 ounces in the 1950, to 13 ounces in the 1970s, to 19 ounces today. Larger portions lead to increased consumption and calorie intake. Clear scientific evidence demonstrates the correlation between supersize soda and our obesity epidemic. A medium size 20-ounces sugary drink contains approximately 65 grams of sugar and 250 calories. Some fast food restaurants even provide “Mega-sized” soda, 64-ounces, which each containing 210 grams of sugar and around 750 calories.

New York City recently proposed a ban on the sale of sugary beverages over 16- oz size at all restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who proposed this ideas, said “Obesity is a nationwide problem. Public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something,”

Maryland government has taken a wait-and-see stance on the issue.

Should we really wait until both our children and ourselves have become addicted to the super-sized soda? From the clear scientific evidence we have, I think imperative actions on our government’s part is urgent and justified.

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5 Responses to “Fighting Obesity in Maryland: The Big-Sized Soda Ban”

  1. sbfphc Says:

    An article in this morning’s Washington Post (23 August 2012) reports on another behavioral dimension of obesity that few have considered. Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/early-use-of-antibiotics-linked-to-obesity-research-finds/2012/08/22/6035f5cc-ec7d-11e1-aca7-272630dfd152_story.html
    A key factor is that antibiotic use in children kill helpful bacteria that are key to proper digestion and nutrition.

  2. socheema Says:

    Thanks for the posting! However, I disagree that it is justified for the government to impinge on individual rights by imposing the ban on sale of super sizes of sugary drinks in servings of larger than 16 ounces at all establishments that fall under the health department. Maybe Nanny Bloomberg will next be imposing a ban on the size of french fries portion, hamburgers or food portions available.Will the other states follow suit? Individuals have to be responsible for what they consume!

    To think that this ban will combat the epidemic of obesity seems like a far-fetched idea. There is no evidence to suggest that a ban on 16-ounce sugary drinks will stop individuals from consuming 2 or more 8 ounce drinks. Individuals may end up consuming more in a form of protest! What will the government do then? Monitor how many soda drinks each individual is consuming?

    It is the duty of the State to grant individuals their rights and to have complete freedom of choice in terms of what they consume.

  3. milesandrew Says:

    clearly obesity is a problem in this country. i am of the belief that overindulgence and lack of physical activity is significant in the cause, althouth there may be some genetic predisopsition. having said that i believe any method that addresses overindulgence would be a step in the right direction in addressing the problem.

    however, while i do believe this kind of legislation may help, i do not believe it addresses the main issue. this does not really go after the crux of the problem, the over indulgence. while it may make some aware of how significant porportions have become, it does not do much to prevent them from overindulging. if the portion sizes are reduced, they can easily curcumvent the reduced size by ordering two or go back for more.

    while i thing this plan has the right ideal, i do not think it is the right approach.

  4. mcharles2 Says:

    We have had the same debate in Philadephia, PA (I live near by). Recently, there have been two proposals for a “soda-tax”, which would help fund Philadelphia public schools. Of course there was a lot of debate and both times the soda-tax never went through. I think that the soda tax may be the way to go. Similary to the cigarette taxes. We have to face the fact that obesity is a major issue and it is time to take steps to turn things around. If a soda-tax can be used to help fund out public schools it can provide the funding that at least Philadelphia schools need. Taxing soda does not restrict an individuals rights but it may reduce how much we drink. Interesting post and interesting comments.

    Also I read the anti-biotic article when it came out. Very interesting as a mother to a young child, thanks for positng.

  5. shari01 Says:

    People in Maryland government and public health are avidly following the efforts to decrease soda consumption taking place in New York City. My interpretation of the “wait and see” position is that some anticipate legal challenges to Bloomberg’s attempt to regulate soda size.
    As much as I favor a soda tax, the current political environment does not seem conducive (to any taxes).

    Regarding physical activity, I just returned from Copenhagen, Denmark, where there is a government policy and program promoting bicycle use. Everywhere I went, there were separate bicycle lanes.. Maybe it was a selected subset of the physically fittest, but I saw a huge number of people on bicycles (many, by the way, without helmets). And the cyclists looked incredibly fit–perhaps we can learn something from Copenhagen.

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