Speak Outs
Speak Out
Should government regulate sugary drinks?

March 22, 2013

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

In March, a New York state judge struck down a New York City ban on the sale of big, sugary drinks. The law, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, was necessary to help curb the growing waistlines of New Yorkers and improve their health.

The ban targeted sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda, fruit drinks, smoothies and coffee that come in containers larger than 16 ounces at restaurants and movie theaters. Supermarkets and convenience stores were exempt.

Calling the city regulations “arbitrary and capricious,” State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling struck them down. Many restaurateurs, soda-industry lobbyists and New Yorkers praised the judge’s action.

The judge’s ruling raises questions about what governments should do, if anything, to help improve the health of its citizens.

Obesity is quickly becoming a major health problem in the nation, with over 35 percent of Americans considered obese. For children and teenagers, the rate is lower, 16.9 percent, but that is also rising.

Obesity raises the risk of many diseases like diabetes and cancer. Higher rates of these diseases will lead to higher health care costs. These costs, Bloomberg argued, could bankrupt New York City. He said action was necessary to try to stop rising obesity rates. It is not the first time Bloomberg has pushed for tougher anti-obesity regulations. In 2008, the New York City Health Department banned trans fat in city restaurants.

Is a ban on sugary drinks the answer?

The Mississippi legislature doesn’t think so, to the point of drafting a law that would forbid local governments from enacting rules that would require calorie counts to be posted, cut down portion sizes, or prevent restaurants from including toys in children’s meals. Deemed the “Anti-Bloomberg Bill,” the law was proposed to prevent Mississippi from becoming a checkerboard of local food regulations.

State Rep. Gregory Holloway was instrumental in getting the bill passed in the Mississippi House. “We don’t want local municipalities experimenting with labeling of foods and any organic agenda. We want that authority to rest with the legislature,” Holloway said in an NPR interview.

Not everyone in Mississippi is happy with the “Anti-Bloomberg Bill,” arguing that the law prevents Mississippians from governing themselves. Hernando, Miss., Mayor Chip Johnson contends the law curbs local governments’ authority and places it in the hands of the state. Johnson said, “You know what? If little Alligator, Miss., wanted to do that, that’s up to the people that live there. It is not up to the state to tell the people at the local level what to do.”

“They’re just using this to mask what the bill is really about, which is about taking away home rule.”

Should governments pass laws aimed at making people healthier?

All levels of government are dealing with this question. The federal government requires healthier school lunches (Read the Speak Out: Should the federal government require healthy school lunches?). Cities, towns and states have enacted bans on trans fat, removing them from the foods we eat (take a look at a bag of chips; most now say “No Trans Fats”). School boards have to decide whether to allow soda machines in cafeterias.

Some say taxes should be levied on unhealthy foods to pay for the costs of health care associated with obesity.

Massachusetts, a state that doesn’t tax food, is looking at removing the tax exemption on sodas to cover rising health care costs. Philadelphia tried and failed to levy a 2-cent tax on every ounce of sugary drinks.

Even these actions have their detractors. Some argue that governments’ role in regulating what individuals eat and drink is turning the U.S. into a “nanny state,” where individuals are pressured into making healthy choices at the cost of personal choice.

“If you want to drink large drinks and become obese, that’s your right,” said Christopher Rivera, 19, told the New York Times.

The American Beverage Association’s Chris Gindlesperger argues against the taxes. “Taxes don’t make people healthy.”

“What helps people get to a place where they’re leading more healthy lifestyles is educating them on how to balance the calories they consume with the calories they expend through physical activity,” Gindlesperger said in an NPR interview.

What do you think?

Should governments ban, tax or regulate unhealthy foods to cut down on obesity? At what level? Local? State? Federal? Do you think laws like New York City’s soda ban would help people make healthier choices? Are there other ways the government could help curb obesity? Is choosing what and how much to eat and drink a personal choice? Or is the government’s stake in the costs of health care important, too? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
8/19/2014
waivaka
jackyweddy
mrjj/wainabidomoika
i think government should regulate sugary drinks for economic and most importantly for health reasons

6/12/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Brix R
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I think that the government should not get involved in what people eat or drink. It is their choice to consume these items. I do think that laws like New York City's soda ban would help people make healthier choices. The government could help with the obesity problem by advertising healthier foods and drinks instead of fattening fast food commercials. I don't think there should be a ban, tax or regulations on foods and drinks that are unhealthy.

6/11/2014
Stroudsburg, PA
Taylor M
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I don't think the government should get involved in what people eat or drink. It's none of their business and if people get obese, then that's their problem. If certain restaurants want to cook healthier and have healthier drinks, then that's their choice and right. If the government wants to help with obesity then they should come up with some kind of law that doesn't involve taking people's rights away. So no, I do not think there should be a ban, tax or regulation on unhealthy foods and drinks.

5/26/2014
Montgomery / Texas
Jordan Wilson
Metzger / Montgomery
I don't believe the government should regulate the soda intake we have. The majority of those who are obese are not obese because they drink sugary drinks, soda's etc. It is most likely due to there lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Soda isn't the issue. It is the consumers job to know that the sugary drinks can effect you physically if, you over consume and poorly treat your bodies. Lets say there was a ban, there are ways to get around the ban and people who want the soda bad enough will find these loopholes. Also, the government shouldn't be able to tell you what you should look like or weigh. I understand their concern for health care because people could end up with things such as diabetes but the giovernment can't act as everyone's mommy. You have to allow people to make their own mistakes. Taking away fat people's sugary drinks isn't going to suddenly make them skinny, they eat the way they do for a reason and just taking their drinks away won't change their diet.

3/20/2014
springfeild TX
Jennifer O
Smith/ washington high
There should not be a ban on sugary drinks because its our choice wheather we choose to eat healthy or not. Also this would be ineffective because there are more fatty foods than fatty drinks!!!

10/19/2013
great neck 11021
Aviva
great neck north high school
In my opinion sugary drinks should be banned. Kids might think i'm crazy for taking that side of the argument but in our generation 23.9 million children ages 2-19 are unfortunately overweight or obese. Some situations of obesity involve surgery because exercising is overwhelming. The cost of medical bills can reach to 861-957 dollars in medical bills by 2032. 16-18 percent of the money is coming from the us government. According to livestrong.com elasticity is a vital aspect of youth skin. Due to collagen and elastin. Skin that has elasticity doesn't wrinkle easily. Kids that eat a lot of sugar their kids lose their elasticity which leads to deep wrinkles.

9/27/2013
Watertown, Mass
Hagop M
Rimas/ Watertown High School
Now a days there are a lot of people dying from obesity. Even though sugary drinks are bad for you and its leading to death, its your choice to drink it or not. If you want to drink it go ahead and drink it, if you don't than don't. If you think its good for your health to drink sugary drinks all the time thats your choice. You should not be told what to drink and what not to drink. I personally think sugary drinks should not be regulated because its leading to a lot deaths now a days but at the end of the day i still drink it so i can't do anything about it or say anything.

9/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Youki
Rimas/Watertown High School
I believe that this would be unfair for those who are skinny and love to drinks such as the ones named (soda, fruit drinks, smoothies, etc.). The whole reason for this was to decrease the rate of obesity for adults and the kids of the future. I think that people should control themselves and that the government doesn't have the right to control this. I know for a fact that many people would protest against this act and that it would never actually succeed. People will find out a way to get these drinks and distribute them to people.

9/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Joey k
Rimas/Watertown High
I don't think the government has a right to tell us what to eat or drink. If people want to drink sugary drinks and get obese that's their own fault. I think this is insane and that the government will ban soda.

9/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Kyle
Rimas/WHS
I think the government has no right to tell you what you can or can't do. Just like the old days when everyone knew smoking cigs was bad but, they wanted to smoke a cig so they did. If you want to drink a huge soda go for it. If i become fat when i get older im not going to blam the government ill blame myself for to many large sodas. The government should have no say about the amount of soda you can have. If you like soda drink soda. YOU DO YOU HOMIE! Don't let the government tell you can't finish that double gulp from 711! Just be close to a bathroom.

9/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Daniel D.
Rimas/Watertown High School
I don't think the government should regulate sugary drinks to the general public. In a setting such as a public elementary or junior high school, the children may not know any better. But if someone is older than that it doesn't make sense to regulate it, especially not for full grown adults. Adults over 21 are expected to know how to responsibly use alcoholic drinks, they should be expected to know how to responsibly use soft drinks.

9/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Heidi
Rimas/WHS
I think the government does not have the right to regulate sugary drinks because the sugary drinks are not causing obesity. Yes sugary drinks can play a role in a person becoming obese, but what if that person is athletic. Say an athlete drinks a sugary drink well playing a game, all the running they do will be burned off. Therefore sugary drinks do not cause obesity.

9/27/2013
Watertown, MA
Jessica R.
Rimas/WatertownHigh
I don't think the government should limit unhealthy foods to cut down obesity. I think people should just learn self control.

9/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Nick A
Rimas/WHS
I think that the government shouldn't regulate sugary drinks because its not the sugary drink companies that are doing the damage that people say they are. Its the people who abuse the sugary drinks. I watched this documentary about a person who was 600 pounds and this guy put down like 6 liters of coca cola a day; he bought the "xtreme gulp" at 7/11 and filled it up to the brim. Soda (and sugary drinks) should not be abused like the way this guy did. Then you have the people that give their kids soda or sugary drink everyday at a young age and then blame the soda for their children being morbidly obese. Its not the sodas fault its the people who abuse it.

9/25/2013
Watertown
Greg K
Rimas/ Watertown High school
Yes because our country is the most obese in the world and it is hard for people to control themselves unless they have someone do it for them.

9/13/2013
Montana
Alyssa
Mr. Faulhaber / Sidney High School
I believe that the government should not have a say on sugary drinks. The people should decide on the sell and buying of drinks, and the government shouldn't worry about it. Perhaps "regulating sugary drinks" could possibly end up with no sugary drinks in the future. There are people out there who enjoy their sugary drinks, and perhaps need the larger amounts for, say, a party.

9/13/2013
Sidney, MT
Jessi Harmon
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that the government should stay about of Amercans personel lives as much as possible. They should worry about making and passing laws.

9/13/2013
Sidney, MT
Kaylyn Dingfelder
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that the government shouldn't involve themselves with what Americans eat or drink; That should be the citizen's choice, NOT the government's or anybody else's!

9/13/2013
Sidney, Montana
Keevin
Mr. Faulhaber
I dont think the government should even worry about it. Its up to the person on whether or not they consume the sugary drinks. I guess they could ban big sugary drinks and give a limit on how many ounces should be in the bottle or can.

9/13/2013
Sindey Montana
Kali
Mr. Faulhaber
I dont think it should be the governments problem to regulate the sugary drink problem.I think it should be the companys problem and the comsumers because the comsumer decide how much they drink.

9/13/2013
Sidney, Montana
Chisum
Faulhaber SHS
I believe the government does not have a say in what the people can eat or drink. They are infringing on our personal rights. It is also effecting the pop companies and therefore effecting the ecomony. That is bad news. The government could instead fund programs that teach eating healthy and exercise.

9/6/2013
Belleville, NY
Jake
Colby BHCS
I think that the government is wasting their time and money on trying to regulate what citizens consume. Each person is going to buy whatever they choose. Having said that, each person is also concious of what is healthy and not healthy for them to consume. By imposing a ban or law on something such as a bevarage is completely unecessary because it will just create a bigger problem because when someone wants to do something that is against the law, they will want to do it even more because they technically don't have the right to. Being from New York, I can understand why Mayor Bloomberg wants to help fight obesity, but this specific way is not going to help because it is up to the consumer to change their own diet.

5/29/2013
Albemarle N.C.
Jay
Albemarle Highschool
I think that people should have the right to choose any food or drink that they want it seems to me that the government is trying to take freedom of speech and freedom of making our own decisons. In most cases people know what is good and and or bad for them but that doesn't stop them from consuming that product . In the end it is the people's decision whether to have a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle.

5/10/2013
ga
cookielover013
northside middle school
The government shouldn't be allowed to bann drinks from citizens. They're saying it makes them fat. Wake up call thats not the only thing that makes people fat. And instead of a law that doesn't help our econmy at all make make a day thats national exercise where all citzens all encouarged to get outside and play. and if they dont then thats they're discion. thats they're decision to be fat and die.

4/26/2013
Benson, AZ
Kourtney
Sorensen
The government should let the people eat or drink the foods that they want because if the food or drink is not allowed to them then people will begin to find any way around the law to obtain the things they have been used to eating or drinking their whole lives. There will always be people in the world who are self disciplined enough to eat right and make healthy choices but something like that cannot be forced.

4/25/2013
Roseburg,OR.
Christina.
Boys&Girls Club.
I think the government should not sell sugary drinks in vending machines,etc. For the fact our society is getting obese because of sugary drinks/fast food/etc. Even children,around 5-10 is getting obese. I know it's up to there parents to choose what they eat.. But parents need to soon realize what foods not to give there children& what you can. We need to put healthy drinks/foods in vending machines.. Like bananas,oranges,fruit snacks,maybe even a little salad. To drink we should put water,mio flavoring for drinks,juice,smoothies,etc.

4/22/2013
Irving/TX
TJ
Bradley
Why is the government worried about obesity when there are people who are drinking their lives away or smoking until their lungs are as black as the tar it puts inside of them? The government should be more worried about banning the sell and consumption of these two drugs. They are so worried about having a healthy country yet they allow people to smoke and drink. Don't get me wrong, obesity is a serious problem in our country and needs to be taken care of. Promoting a healthy lifestyle is the only thing the government can do. They give us the freedom to choose what we want to do, therefore it is unconstituional for them to keep us from making our own decisions.

4/22/2013
Irving/TX
Dennys A.
Bradley/Nimitz
In all honesty it seems too late to try a stunt targeting sugary drinks now and plus people against such bans would come out protesting "its our right to consume what we see fit" and major companies would find alternatives to work around the bill, when we believe we're resolving a problem another one follows so in all honesty trying to make America healthier seems rather impossible maybe implementing more physical programs for children and adults could prove more effective, low-cost gyms, safe parks, and more reason to stay active.

4/21/2013
irving/Tx
but nguyen
Bradley/Nimitz
Back in 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed. This was America’s first step into having a healthier country. Now in the 21st century, we are ready to take a second step in making this country a healthier place. Obesity is huge factor that can affect this country’s future. Government shouldn’t ban unhealthy food, but instead, should regulate the companies that produce these unhealthy foods. Just like how the government regulated the producer of impure drugs and food with the Pure Food and Drug Act, the government should do the same thing for companies that are producing unhealthy food and drinks. We are either going to stop and lower the number of obesity now, or we are going to pay for it in the future in health care money in the billions of dollars

4/20/2013
Irving/TX
Kenia
Bradley/ Nimitz HS
Although it is a good idea, it would still be considered unconstitutional. Yeah we do need to find a way to handle the obesity problem in America but this is not the answer. The government cannot step in and put a limit on sugary drinks. That would just be an overstep of power. First you start by regulating sugary drinks and ultimately you end by banning them entirely. It is an individuals personal choice in choosing what they may drink or eat.

4/20/2013
Irving/Texas
Darian
Bradley/Nimitz
I don't think the government should be able to ban or tax unhealthy food. Its peoples choice to eat and drink whatever they want to do. If somebody wants to eat unhealthy food and be over weight that's their choice. The Soda ban in New York will not help people make healthier choices. The people in New York will just find a way around it. The government should just promote a healthier life style instead of trying to control people.

4/19/2013
Irving/Tx
Joshua B
Bradley/Nimitz
I do not think that the government should control sugary drinks. I feel like it is our choice to consume anything we want to, I understand that that the government is trying to help out americans, but that is too much in my opinon. They should focus on real issues instead.

4/19/2013
Irving/Texas
Monica A.
Bradley/Nimitz
The government should tax unhealthy foods to cut down on obesity. People won't want to buy these foods if they're taxed. It should be based on areas where obesity is a huge problem. The New York soda ban would help people make healthier choice. They'll realize there's a healthier alternative to sugary drinks. Your eating habits are a personal choice. Nobody is telling you what you can and can't eat.

4/18/2013
Irving/Texas
April K.
Bradley/Nimitz
At local, state, and federal levels, the government should not be able to ban, tax, or regulate unhealthy foods. In New York City, they had a soda ban to help people make healthier choices. This is good because soda and sugary drinks leads to obesity, but it is taking freedom away from the citizens. People should be able to decide what they want to eat or drink on their own. I have not drank any type of soda in over two years; however, if I wanted a Coke right now, the government should not be able to stop me. Not everyone has health problems and it's okay to have sugary drinks every now and then, so no regulations should be put on them. One solution to this issue is just to make people more aware of the health issues related to bad foods and to promote healthy foods, but not by taking away the bad foods. People would get around the laws if they banned soda, just like how when alcohol was banned and all the moonshiners came out.

4/16/2013
Irving/Texas
Kelsie
Bradley/Nimitz
I feel that the government can not take away surgary drinks, because in my opinion that is taking away from our freedom. Yes, the government is trying to be helpful and help people out, but the people are not going to change unless they want too and have it made uo in their mind.

4/16/2013
Irving/Texas
Alan
Bradley/Nimitz
The government should not do anything that has to do with unhealthy foods, because it is all up to the people who consume such foods. Increasing prices won't stop the consumers from purchasing the items, and making the proportions smaller would just make them buy more. While obesity is increasing in the country, it is all through people choosing this for themselves, when a lot has been done to keep them informed. Not everyone in this country is obese, so why punish the ones who can moderate what they eat? Taking away alcohol didn't solve anything back then, and neither will this.

4/15/2013
Irving/Texas
Delaney
Bradley/Nimitz
The government cannot legally deny its citizens sugary drinks, and if they did then they would have to do the same for all types of fat packed fast food that is making Americans fat. The reality of it is is that the soft drinks don't make citizens fat, we make ourselves that way by not abstaining from them. Americans are not known for their ability to say no to things that give them pleasure or endorphins.

4/11/2013
Irving/TX
Gabe
Bradley/Nimitz
The government has always had a grip on what we consume. People were really upset when the Coca-Cola had to reduce the amount of cocaine they put in soda, but in today's world, we're not all cocaine addicts because they stepped in and made the company change their formula. However, laws like those that have been instated in New York are pointless. Restricting the size of a soda will just make people buy twice the amount. The same goes in Salt Lake City, where they regulate how much alcohol percentage can be in beverages, which makes people drink twice as much and makes them gain weight, on top of being drunk. Years ago, McDonald's was forced to change the way they made their fries, but no one noticed. The fries used to be cooked in a beef broth, but they were pressured to changing it, and now no one even notices. Remember back in the 50s when everything was covered in butter and grease and other extremely fattening "toppings" but now when we look back at their food, it looks as if they ate a whole stick of butter as a snack. The bottom line is that if you limit how much can be sold, then people will consume twice as much, but if the ingredients are changed for the better of our health, we won't notice and we'll continue living.

4/11/2013
Benson/AZ
Kady
Sorensen/Benson
First of all, some people love their sugary drinks and a lot would be mad! I think you can regulate it at schools and not have vending machines at schools with unhealthy drinks. But other than that, it shouldn't be regulated. People have the freedom to choose and if they choose to be unhealthy and fat, then good for them.

4/10/2013
Denver, CO
Neena
Zimber/ John F. Kennedy High School
Yes, the government should regulate sugary drinks and have more healthy drinks or water to offer.

4/10/2013
Rudyard MT
Donovan
Mrs.Campbell Northstar
Well i think its a bad idea if the government takes all sugary drinks away from the people of US. It would make alot of people really mad, but if they take away pop im going to get mad. But the government does have the right to take away all sugary drinks and i agree with Elyssa from Irving/ Texas.

4/8/2013
Irving/Texas
Elyssa
Bradley/Nimitz
The government should be able to regulate and tax unhealthy foods to reduce obesity in the states. Taxing is a better option because it reminds people of the damage that these unhealthy foods can cause you compared to banning which would make the people angry with the government causing more riots and protests. The governments interest are in the well-being of the people so taxing and regulating junk food is helping the people. Taxing these unhealthy foods can push people to make healthier decisions because Americans want cheaper things. Reducing taxes on the organic foods can help reduce obesity. This causes all these people to want the cheaper item. More and more Americans are becoming obese because they want quick and affordable food and the cheapest way to achieve this craving is fast food. If organic food was cheaper more people would want to eat it. Regulating these sugary drinks and foods would also benefit the government too because people who eat and drink healthier are less likely to end up at the doctors office or hospital.

4/8/2013
Irving/Texas
Zachery
Bradley/Nimitz
What Mayor Bloomberg is trying to do is a wonderful thing but, it isn't the right thing to do. To take away the peoples choice, is to take freedom for some Americans. I don't believe that the Government, at any level, should try and regulate what people want concerning food and drinks. Yes, obesity has become an increased problem in the United States but, there shouldn't be a law stating that we can't make a personal choice on the food/drinks we wanna buy. I think there is a better way for the government to guide Americans on a healthier path, not forcing people to become healthy.

4/5/2013
Benson, AZ
Rhiannon
Sorensen/Benson
If people want to drink things high in sugar and caffeine, that is their own decision. The government shoudln't feel the need to protect citizens from themselves. It is a well intentioned law, but if people aren't willing to change their lives themselves, it's their own problem. It's like having to put a warning label on hot coffee, it's obvious that it can burn you, so why is it the responibility of others to make sure you're safe?

4/4/2013
Denver CO.
Torrence
J.F.K.
No they shouldn't bring it back because it is bad for people and it can mess up their bodies

4/4/2013
Rudyard, MT
Caleb Vaughn
Mrs. Campbell/ North Star
I think sugary drinks should not be regulated by the government. I think that if there is to be regulations on sugar, it should be done at the local level. The United States government should not waste time and money on something that should be taken care of in the cities individually. Those Americans that know how to regulate themselves on sugar, should not have to suffer because of those who do not.

4/3/2013
Irving/Texas
Samantha N. S.
Bradley/Nimitz
The government's solution to the obesity of Americans is a little ridiculous and extreme. People would not cease to purchase sugary drinks because of a tax- they'd simply grumble about it and continue buying them. The solution comes in education- educating the people on the drink's bad nutritional value, the ingredients in the food and drinks they consume, and health effects- and positively influencing them to become healthy and nutritionally aware of what goes into their bodies. What a person consumes is ultimately their choice, and though the government's goal is ultimately good for the people, it's a choice the people should be able to make on their own- independently and with their own will. If the government attempts to control what we consume, who's to say what else they'll attempt to control?

4/3/2013
Irving/Tx
Tasia
Bradley/Nimitz
In my opinion the government is slowly but surely cutting down and taking away from our rights. Yes, I thank the government for looking out for us but not everyone is obese and have health problems. Also even if the government stops us from having surgary drinks when going out to eat they can't stop society from eating unhealthy everywhere else they go. In my opinion it has to be up to someone indivually to change.

4/3/2013
Okc, OK
Patricia Russell
Moore Norman Technology Center/ Woodard
People choose what to put in there bodies. People can choose to be healthly or not. I don't think they should ban drinks because not everybody is fat.

4/2/2013
North Star-Rudyard, MT
Kassidy
Mrs. Campbell
What people eat and drink is competely up to them, the government should have no say in that. Therefore they should not be able to tax or ban any kind of drink because it isn't going to stop people from drinking sugary dirnks for example. If anything banning sugary drinks would make them want to drink those types of drinks even more, regardless if they can do it in public or in private. Even if pop, fruit drinks, ect. are unhealthy, it the person's own personal choice to drink those types of things because it is regarding their own health. Instead of banning or taxing these drinks the government should use the money to educate people on the effects of these types of drinks. Put a program in schools, perform workshops and seminars. Because banning a these drinks or taxing them would just cause more problems for the government.

4/2/2013
Irving/Texas
Jessica W.
Bradley/Nimitz
We have the right to eat and drink whatever we want. Even if it is at the risk of our health. Governments should not have the power to ban unhealthy food. But regulation on the other hand might not be a bad idea if it was at the local government, but I do not think that the national or state governments should be the ones making that decision. I really don't think that making laws is going to help anything because being healthy and making the right choices in what we eat are personal choices that should not be regulated by any one but ourselves.

4/1/2013
Irving/Texas
Wesley
Bradley/Nimitz
8. There is that fine line that the government tries to tiptoe across to, in a sense, control it's constituents. With the current reputation of “Fat America,” it is no wonder that our government is concerned with cutting down the obesity rates. But, a government has no right to control our eating. That is the decision of the public and the public only. New York City’s soda ban would in no way help people make healthier choices. It is understandable to put healthier choices in vending machines, but that is all the government can really do: provide more choices that instigate a healthier eating lifestyle. But, banning soda because it is considered “unhealthy” is in no way constitutionally sound because it infringes upon basic human rights. We consume what we want and that is that. Now, some may try to pose an argument that the government has in the past banned substances such as alcohol, marijuana, etc. Nevertheless, these types of drugs are banned because upon consumption, they alter human judgment and put others at risk. Soda and other unhealthy foods are only harmful to the person consuming them, and the right to consume them lies solely in the hands of the individual consumer.

4/1/2013
benson/AZ
kayla
sorenson
banning it wouldnt help, taxing it might but it would just make people angry. food is something everyone needs. now a days they are advertising how to eat healthier, if a person does not want to do that, thats their life they are wanting to live.

4/1/2013
Irving/TX
Maddie
Bradley/Nimitz
Every individual has the given right to eat and drink whatever they want. The government shouldn't be able to ban any type of food or drink. When you ban something, it really doesn't stop- people just do it in secret. Just because marijuana is illegal doesn't mean thousands of people don't smoke it every day. If someone isn't making healthy choices on their own, the only thing the government can do is try to educate them. Once they get tired of being fat and overweight, they'll make the changes they deem necessary.

3/29/2013
Benson/AZ
Krystal
Sorensen/Benson High School
I do agree that Americans in general don't eat very healthy. However I'm not sure that there is any way that the government can change that. Americans love to complain about anything and everything that the government does, whether the action is actually helpful and/or beneficial to them or not.

3/27/2013
Irving/Texas
Leslie
Bradley /Nimitz
The government should not ban, tax or regulate unhealthy foods to cut down on obesity because people that chose to eat unhealthy now wont be stopped by banning sugary of fatty foods because theirs also chips , sugar that could be added to foods, candy, fruit juice that contain to much fat. People that eat unhealthy will keep on eating bad foods. The only result that would happen if the government would ban unhealthy foods would be like when people text and drive. There has been a lot a death or issues over that common topic and people still text and drive knowing the consequences. The government is a group of people with power that will not successful when regulating the way people eat. Every person is responsible of their own body so having regulations will not help this society.

3/27/2013
Irving/TX
Alexis
Bradley/ Nimitz
Gowing up it was extremely rare for us to have sugary drinks in our household because my mother didn't allow it, with that said I dont see a problem with regulating sugary drinks.,especially if it will help decrese our escalating obesity problem However, there are some individuals who enjoy sugary drinks and thrive on such drinks. I understand the gov't motivation to start regulating sugary drinks due to the escalating health problems. The truth is though if people dont want to get healthy and start regulating their own consumption of fatty foods and sugary dinks then we cant do much about that. I believe by regualting sugary drinks that will do very little on solving America's health problems.

3/27/2013
Watertwown, MA
Benjamin
Docta Rimas
I personally think that they should regulate the amount of sugar the companies and industries are allowed to put into a drink. I know Mayor Bloomberg is trying to change the amount of soda you can get at once at a restaurant, even though you can get refills, the amount available at once will be limited. I think that the whole "we're smart enough to take care of ourselves" mentality has shown to not work. For people who don't drink soda, it really doesn't matter. For people who are overweight, or could possibly become unhealthy due to over-consumption of sugary drinks offered at high volumes, it does matter, and I think it could help. If they never had the parents to regulate their sugar, than the government should step in. Being fit is my advantage in life, if the government made everyone fit and skinny, then I would lose my natural advantage so ultimately I don't care what the (government) does. I don't really like soda, but maybe some people are drinking too much.

3/27/2013
Watertown Ma
wilson j
Rimas
Maybe, I don't know.

3/27/2013
Watertown Ma
Leandro Franca
Rimas
No i believe that governments shouldn't be able to regulate sugary drinks. It should be up to a person whether or not they would like to drink something that's bad for you. Controlling the kinds of drinks people consume wont solve the obesity problem in the United States. People will continue to eat/drink other things that are unhealthy.

3/27/2013
Watertown Ma
Leandro Franca
Rimas
No i believe that governments shouldn't be able to regulate sugary drinks. It should be up to a person whether or not they would like to drink something that's bad for you. Controlling the kinds of drinks people consume wont solve the obesity problem in the United States. People will continue to eat/drink other things that are unhealthy.

3/27/2013
Watertown/Ma
Jane Grzelcyk
Mr.Rimas/Watertown High
I do not believe that the government should regulate sugary drinks. It won't help control the obesity problem in the country. There are a billion different factors that go into the fact that Americans are obese. The government is trying to control how lunches should be served in the schools and all its done is make everyone complain about how the lunches don't taste good or how there is too little food. Adding a drinking ban or regulating the sugary drinks will only make people more mad.

3/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Anthony
Mr. Rimas/Watertown High School
Yes I think the government should regulate sugary drinks. America has drastically inclined in obesity due to the amount of sugar Americans consume.

3/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Ariana Sidiropulos
Mr. Rimas/Watertown High School
I feel like students should be able to drink sugary drinks just as long as they balance it out with water. It's good to have the sugar in the sugary drinks in your body to make sure your blood glucose levels stay up and so your body doesnt give out and you could possibly faint. The water would help balance it out so it isn't as bad for your body. You could even put half sugar and half water in the juice. I do understand that sugar helps increase body fat and there is a very big percentage of the world that is obese, but it kids are smarter about the sugar and water in their drinks- they should be allowed to have sugary drinks.

3/27/2013
Watertown/Massachusetts
Jason Doucette
Mr.Rimas/Watertown High School
The growing population of obesity is the product of a lot of different things, primarily diet and lack of exercise. For one to say that the growing population of obesity is due to sugary drinks is a short cited argument, because one, sugary drinks only provide a source of energy for those who are thirsty. The majority of those who are obese are not obese because they drink sugary drinks, soda's etc. It is most likely due to there lack of exercise and poor eating habits. It is the consumers job to know that the sugary drinks can effect you physically if, you over consume and poorly treat your bodies. Its the consumers fault not the sugary drink if they become obese. It is upon the consumer to keep themselves healthy, its not a soda company's job.

3/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Joey Farrar
watertown/rimas
Yes the government should regulate sugary drinks. I think kids should be able to drink things with sugar if they want to and their parents dont care

3/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Pat
Rimas/Watertown High School
The ban on sugary drinks is not the answer to the growing problem of obesity in the United States. Although the government should protect its citizens, it doesn't need to regulate everything that we eat and drink. We should be able to make those decisions ourselves. I believe that the government's current regulations are good they way that they are, it is just up to the consumer to know what is good or bad for them.

3/27/2013
Watertown, MA
Charlie
Rimas/Watertown High
The government should not regulate sugary drinks. People should be able to put whatever they want into their own body and it shouldn't be the concern of the government. Soda is bad for people, yes, but that alone doesn't mean it should be banned. It only harms people who choose to consume it regularly. People know the risks of soda and if they choose to drink it, that's their choice and nobody's business but theirs.

3/27/2013
Watertown, MA
Arda Cam
Mr. Rimas
I cans see why the government would want to regulate sugary drinks. Because teens are overeating, they can easily get as much food as possible from restaurants without any restrictions. This overeating causes teens to become overweight and obesity to happen. But the truth is that the government should not have any rights to stop us from eating or drinking what we want. They can't control what we put into our bodies. I think we have our own rights to put whatever food we want. Maybe kids want to get overweight. by stooping us doing what we want the government is taking away our rights of a human being. Teens have enough regulations, like drinking alcohol, smoking and etc. they should not also put this regulations. This will not stop obesity instead it will make teens go against the regulations and drink more drinks. I think instead of the government putting laws and regulations against sugary drinks, they should instead show us how bad these drinks are and what it does to our bodies. Maybe the town should have like presentations in schools or public places to show how we can avoid becoming obese or what we could do to stay healthy.

3/27/2013
Watertown, MA
Deborah
Mr. Rimas/ Watertown High
My question is, what gives the government the right to tell us what we can and can't ingest. Sure I can understand things like drugs and alcohol that are addictive and can make people dangerous to others, but sugary drinks? They claim its to prevent health problems but should we ban everything that can be considered bad for you? It's our exclusive right to decide what we eat and drink, the government can't take that freedom away from us. Limiting sugary drinks is just a way of rationing food to citizens, and no democracy should head down that road. As American citizens, we can choose to cut back on certain foods but if we don't want to, that's our prerogative, and the government doesn't have the right to take that away from us.

3/27/2013
Watertown/Massachusetts
Tammy
Mr. Rimas/ Watertown High School
In my opinion I don't think the government should regulate sugary drinks because it is the person's decision whether or not to drink it. I believe that people should be able to regulate what goes into their own bodies not the government.

3/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Kosta Fabrikarakis
Rimas/Watertown
Putting a ban on something is the same thing as sweeping a problem under the rug. If the government can regulate everything in people's lives, what freedom would we have left? It should be up to a person to be in charge of their own bodies. Drugs are banned, how many people are addicts? Guns are illegal, yet we still have shootings. What if the government just banned whatever they felt like. Yes I agree obesity is a major problem but bans aren't the answer, why not implement a more positive spin such as lowering gym costs or offering some sort of incentive. Teach people about the benefits of healthy living, longer age and healthier bodies sound a lot more appealing than a law that simply states you can not do something. Educate people for the future, help them learn from their mistakes not simply tell them hey you can't drink this anymore.

3/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Elayna
Rimas/Watertown High
Obesity is absolutely an issue, yes, but policing what people eat is ridiculous. People make their own decisions, and the best way to prevent people from making bad ones is educating them about what's healthy, what isn't, and why it matters; not by FORCING them to make good decisions. Also, the way they phrase it is a little bit unnerving. They talk about the weight issue as if EVERYONE in the state should be required to lose weight, which is a very harmful message to be sent. Obesity rates are at about 35 percent; what does that mean for the other 65 percent? It means that they're being told "you need to lose weight, and we're going to force you to do so", when they're perfectly healthy as they are. Just imagine how harmful that is to some people, especially with that message already being dispersed throughout the media! I understand that this is a well-meaning gesture, but it's being gone about in all the wrong ways, and it quickly becomes malicious if there's force involved. People won't listen to force; force just makes them upset and less willing to listen.

3/27/2013
Watertown/Massachusetts
Gregory
Rimas/Watertown High
The government, while responsible for maintaining and protecting the rights of its people, has no responsibility to ban substances that are adverse to their health if it does not directly cause harm to others when they use it. In fact, by banning things like sugary drinks that are only adverse when taking often over a long period of time, they are neglecting their own responsibility to protect our freedom. They are removing our right to choose in order to satisfy a minority opinion that happens to be very vocal.

3/27/2013
Irving/ Tx
Samantha S
Bradley/ Nimitz
This topic is ridiculous. The United States population does not consist of 3 years olds only! The government regulates enough, if you know you are fat, have health problems, should stop drinking so much coke (and/or other sugary drinks) then you should just stop. We are not children that need to be told how much of anything needs to be taken, besides medications and few other exceptions. As a country we do have an obesity problem so solutions such as having more p.e. time in school, or creation more exercise clubs and organizations should be created. This entire topic is a little annoying because as young adluts we know what good and bad choices are, and are giving up our opinion and if we let the government pick how much of a drink we can have. I work good on my eating habits, and work out fairly enough to be able to go out and enjoy as much coke (drink of choice) as i please.

3/26/2013
Connecticut
Madison
Dubreuil/LHS
Yes obesity is a major cause of medical problems but food isn't the only reason. Instead of creating bans, taxes, and regulating food to cut down on obesity they should promote exercise. A person can eat healthy but without the right amount of exercise they can still be overweight. The majority of people who are obese are the ones who buy the not so great food and are always snacking but most importantly are the couch potatoes. With the way the eat they must balance it out with exercise if not they will have health problems. Laws like New York City's soda ban will not help people make healthier choices when you tell a person they can't have something they just want it even more. There are ways to get around the ban and people who want the soda bad enough will find these loopholes.

3/26/2013
Benson, AZ
Richard Rose
Marv Sorensen. Benson High School
The right for a person to choose what and how much to eat is a personal right. Eating makes people happy, therefore any ban or law prohibiting certain foods that people demand are unconstitutional for they infringe on a person's "pursuit of happiness." A tax, however, may be used as a deterrent. Money is an item that people value more than the food they consume. The food is still available for purchase to the individual, but its price has increased ever so slightly. Since the demand for such foods is always in demand and are constantly sold, a tax on those foods would bring a considerable sum to the government's revenue. Whatever is put in place to regulate or deter the purchase of harmful foods should be dealt with by state and local government units who are more in touch with the people they represent and , ultimately, who the laws and taxes affect.

3/26/2013
benson
Cottrell
sorenson/benson
This wont change anything. Koolaid still exists. Someone could put three cups of sugar in it just because they feel like it!!!!! Unless the government wants to ban bags of sugar?????????

3/26/2013
Benson/AZ
Jordan
Sorenson/BHS
I think that the government should not try to limit the amount of sugar that can be put in drinks. If someone wants to drink sugary drinks, they should be aloud to,

3/26/2013
Benson/AZ
Alyssa
Sorenson/BHS
I do not believe that the government should concern themselves with anything that people eat or drink. The government shouldn't be able to tell you what you should look like or weigh. I understand their concern for health care because people could end up with things such as diabetes but the giovernment can't act as everyone's mommy. You have to allow people to make their own mistakes. Taking away fat people's sugary drinks isn't going to suddenly make them skinny, they eat the way they do for a reason and just taking their drinks away won't change their diet.

3/26/2013
Benson/AZ
Kaelin Lockett
Marv Sorensen
No if people want to ruin there lives, then let them. That is there problem not mine. government should not get involved. let people decide on there own.

3/26/2013
Benson high school
jacob manuel
soransen
I believe that this move is really dumb mainly because we should not really should not be worried about peoples health when it comes to this , i think that this is only meant to hurt some buisnesses with making buch of profit on soda pops because the people that drink soda all the time will ;find a wat to get it so it makes non sense!

3/26/2013
Benson/AZ
David
Sorenson/Benson
No, I do not believe that unhealthy foods or drinks should be banned, taxed or regulated at all by the government. If a person wishes to consume these products then that is a personal choice, to take away this choice would be a violation of that person's freedom to do as they choose.

3/25/2013
Irivng/Texas
Yessica
Bradley/Nimitz
Obesity is a major cause of health risks and future medical problems.However the government should not dictate or force us to eat healthy food, it is a kind gesture yet is destroying our liberty on our choice of consuming the food and drinks we decide to digest. However they can help us open our eyes to the brutal reality of junk food, for example they can put labels on every "health hazardous" food warning them of the dangers and health risks of consuming it. Of course this will not make everyone stop eating fattening food but it will prevent some to stop and think on their day to day "diet." This will also provide many citizens new job opportunities at the "label making" factories which will be good for the overall economy. Another idea is to provide the ingredients straight forward where we can understand instead of writing scientific words no one can understand therefore we might actually know what we are eating. These are just some ways the government can help us stay fit and not fat, they shouldn't order us what to eat yet they should enforce and make healthy living appealing to the society. We should also put in our parts and be healthy, obesity should not overcome the United States.

3/25/2013
Benson Arizona
Amanda
Mr. Sorensen Benson high School
They almost already do they been making some business sell less quantity of sugary beverages. they don't allow soda at schools anymore. I think they need to let people choose if they want sugary beverages otherwise a lot of business will go down. And it will hurt our economy. Just because you try to regulate sugary drinks doesn't mean its going to control everyone from drinking less, a few people but the other people will just try harder to get it. Not all people who drink sugary drinks get fat.

3/25/2013
Benson, AZ
Evan
Sorensen
No the government shouldn't regulate sugary drinks. Honestly it would be a waste of money and effort because people are going to continue to eat unhealthy wither they are getting it from sodas or chocolate snacks. The Government should just spread awareness about the health issues cause by obesity and obesity during puberty and hope that some people will open there eyes and put down the big mac.

3/25/2013
benson/az
James
sorenson/benson
there is no reason for the government to try and control what we put into our bodies, they already have tobacco at 18 and alcohol at 21, leave drinks alone, just more liberals trying to take away my rights.

3/25/2013
benson
emily
sorensen/benson
there is no way that the government can control what we drink. dont punish the skinny people for america being fat.

3/25/2013
Benson/AZ
Brandon
Sorensen/Benson
I do not believe the government should regulate any type of food or beverage because it is our right what we want to put into our bodies.

3/25/2013
Benson/Arizona
Dylan L
Sorenson/Benson
i dont think that the goverment should not have a say. they arent hurting anyone and they are not addictive. I think that is would not be nessacary for the goverment to step in and make a regu;lation on energy drinks.

3/25/2013
AZ
Derek
Sorenson/Benson
i dont think that the government should regulate suguary drinks because if people become fat and unhealthy that is their own fault and their own problem.

3/25/2013
Benson AZ
Joey
Sorenen/ Benson
I am against government regulation of sugary drinks because I want to be able to drink whatever I want without the government telling me what I can and can't drink.

3/25/2013
Irving/Texas
Misael
Bradley/Nimitz
In no moment should the US government ban, tax, or regulate foods to simply cut calories just because it wants too. The way of life of US citizens should not be changed on the whims of the government on food period. Food should be one of the few things in this nation where the government should not meddle with at any level. The New York ban is a prime example of the government over reach and how its completely wrong. The best way to cure obesity would be to educate our citizens in the best way to stay healthy and why they should be healthy in the first place. What you eat is completely the choice of every individual no matter what.

3/25/2013
Benson/AZ
Destiny
Sorensen/Benson
Being someone who practically drinks Monster everyday, I am definitely against this. I say if people wanna get fat, let them. It's their lives. Who is the government to tell us we can't eat what we wanna eat or drink? Sure it may make them want to eat healthier, but whatever.

3/25/2013
Irving/Texas
April S.
Bradley/Nimitz
Sugary beverages should not be banned. It would not help anything. People might stop consuming sugary drinks, but what about fried foods? Foods made in grease and fat? The nation would not be healthier. We would just consume more of the fast food that we all love. Choosing what we eat and drink is a personal choice. No matter what is banned, we will always find a way to get what we want. When they banned alcohol in America, people still found ways to manufacturer, sell, and consume it. No matter what laws are made, people will still break them if they want what is banned badly enough.

3/25/2013
Irving/Texas
Edgar
Bradley/Nimitz
No government should not be allow to ban, tax, or regulate unhealthy foods, as this should be a personal choice. No, soda ban would ban sugary drink people will find something to replace these drinks. Government could charge more for health insurance for obese people just like they do for smokers. Yes choosing what you eat and how much you eat is a personal choice as it is your body.

3/25/2013
Irving/Texas
Helen
Bradley/Nimitz
Any kind of democratic government is created by the people and for the people. Any person in a civilized society gives to a certain extent some rights in order to live under the government they have created. If the government seems fit to ban sugary drinks because of a rising obesity epidemic then the government has the right to because at the end of the day they are simply protecting our lives with these bans. If we are content to let them impose on us speed limits, drinking ages, and prohibit certain substances in order to promote the general welfare then imposing a ban on sugary drinks should not be a problem. The constitution itself was created to promote the general welfare and establish domestic tranquility. Banning sugary drinks is legal and the government should do it in order to continue to protect the lives of it's citizens.

3/25/2013
Irving/Texas
April S.
Bradley/Nimitz
Sugary beverages should not be banned. It would not help anything. People might stop consuming sugary drinks, but what about fried foods? Foods made in grease and fat? The nation would not be healthier. We would just consume more of the fast food that we all love. Choosing what we eat and drink is a personal choice. No matter what is banned, we will always find a way to get what we want. When they banned alcohol in America, people still found ways to manufacturer, sell, and consume it. No matter what laws are made, people will still break them if they want what is banned badly enough.

3/25/2013
Irving, Tx
Timothy
Bradley/Nimitz
There is a fine line when it comes to government intervention in the lives of the people. For many people, the New York ban on sugary drinks reaches too far. I tend to agree. It does seem ridiculous for the government to try and reduce the waste lines of its constituents by limiting the locations in which they can buy sugary drinks. However, it does make sense for the government to have some role in trying to ensure that the people live healthy lives. I don't think that the solution is to ban sugary drinks, however. Eating is a personal choice, and one should be free to eat whatever and however much they wish to. But, the reactionary bill presented by the Mississippi legislature that has been deemed the "Anti-Bloomberg Bill" is going a step to far. The government's role in ensuring that health information is readily available is not an evolution into the dreaded "nanny state." This law, which would prevent local governments from, say, requiring that dietary information be posted in a restaurant, would severely limit the government's ability to protect the citizens from the abuse of corporations–who would love the opportunity to pass off sawdust as an ingredient in their 100% beef (not including the connective tissue, saturated trans-mono-poly-radio fat, pink slime, ad horse meat). We have to think–what would we rather have: a government that regulated how much sugary drink we can buy at a time or a McDonald that can pass off pink slime as beef. After the Cold War and the ostensible eminent threat of godless Communism, the United States has so dreaded the descent into Socialism that when the government tries to protect us we complain that it is a descent into the dreaded "nanny state." The reality is: we just need to get our priorities straight.

3/25/2013
Irivng/TX
Kelly
Bradley/Nimitz
Obviously people aren't going to make the right desicions for their health on their own. There is nothing wrong with regulating how much or what you can eat and drink. Obesity is a big problem in the United States, and it's only going to become worse if we have places like Mcdonald's and such. I think resturants/fast food places should t lieast limit how many sodas you can get. Also, they could down the portions of certain foods they serve. People can still eat badly if they want, but it's best to limit it as best we can.

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