Did Legislation Pass to Prevent Use of Food Stamps to Buy Soda in New York?

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Fast food and an abundance of cheap junk foods are typically found in the poorest of neighborhoods. In fact, many of these regions are considered produce deserts, meaning that access to fresh, wholesome fruits and vegetables is limited at best. So it's no surprise that the community subsists on mostly cheap burgers, fries, fried chicken, tacos and burritos, ice cream, candy and lots and lots of soda and other sugary drinks. In an effort to address this issue, politicians decided to try and control consumption of soda, which has been associated in a number of studies, with obesity and growing rates of diabetes. Public schools have already removed soda from the vending machines of elementary, middle school and high schools across the nation. And milk manufacturers, under pressure, have modified flavored milk, reducing the amount of sugar in their formulations.

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    Since we know that soda is nutritionally devoid, high in sugar and probably the most popular drink in the United States, it makes sense to at least consider modifying the ability of consumption of this drink. Considering its link to obesity, it also makes sense to try and limit access of soda to little children and school age children. We mostly entrust parents to do this, but politicians note that with all the availability and advertising associated with soda, parents may not be doing such a good job of controlling their kid's diets. 


    So trying to control soda consumption among the population from a governmental perspective is reasonable, according to legislators. Especially, if the mode of purchase involves food stamps. You can no longer dispute obesity statistics - the latest study suggests that by the year 2030, 50% of Americans will be obese.....not just overweight, but significantly overweight. So the position of some individuals who feel that the government has no right to "control" the people by designating what can and cannot be purchased with food stamps seems rather displaced, considering the current health realities of poor communities subsidized by food stamps. Additionally, some people feel that our taxes pay for the food stamps used by economically challenged people, and our health care system is being burdened by the same community when they make poor lifestyle choices. Cutting soda out of their diets, and especially the diets of their kids seems a reasonable step. Or does it?


    Mayor Bloomberg and other politicians and New York State health officials believe that communities like Morningside Heights, the South Bronx, parts of East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant would be well served by reducing the exposure to soda in the home and by limiting the purchase of soda. He and his team are opposed to "incentive based" policies that are supposed to inspire better health choices when it comes to the soda debate. Results from programs like that have not been stellar.  Currently the legislation did not pass. What do you think? Would you want this policy in your state or neighborhood? Do you think soda is a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic?

Published On: November 04, 2011