Monday, January 28, 2013

Tu B'Shevat Continued

RealSchool's Health and Environment team offered ways to keep us healthy in honor of Tu B'Shevat, Judaism's "Green Day." Here is a blog post FastCoExist posted right after the holiday, and in it you can learn how important trees are to human health. Read the post, and then read some student responses to New York Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban on the size of sodas some NY vendors can sell. Is Mayor Bloomberg's plan a reasonable way to fight obesity and keep New Yorkers healthy?

An Archive of Ancient Tree DNA Will Help us Clone the Ones we Destroy

Student response 1: Con:

Mayor Bloomberg has many valid reasons for wanting to ban the sale of sodas larger than sixteen ounces, in restaurants, street carts, and movie theaters. It is a major cause of obesity, which can result in many health issues as well as death. Five thousand people in New York die of obesity each year. Research shows that an extra soda drink a day increases the probability of a child becoming obese by 60%. In addition, one or two sugar drinks a day increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 25%, which is the cause of more than 60,000 amputations a year. There are many other negative effects of soda drinks, such as tooth decay. These are all conditions which nobody should have to experience, and Mayor Bloomberg believes disallowing the sale of large bottles of soda will help decrease the amount people drink and therefore also the number of people that have these potentially fatal conditions. However, many people believe this law shouldn’t be passed. It is forcefully taking away business not only of the soda industry, but also of the restaurants, street carts, and movie theaters that would no longer be able to sell the larger products. I do believe actions should be taken to help prevent obesity, but not in this way. First of all, it is unfair to many businesses. But in addition, I don’t think it will have much effect. If people want more soda, when they finish the first bottle, they will just buy another one. If they are at a restaurant, they can ask for a refill. Other actions need to be taken that won’t harm businesses but will also have a major effect.

Student response 2: Pro:

Over the past few years, many researchers have expressed their concern about the regular consumption of sodas and sugary drinks in our society. They have found that one soda or other sugary drink, which contributes the most calories to our diet, each day can increase a child’s chance of obesity by sixty percent. Sugary drinks, such as sodas, can cause tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes, which is the leading cause of amputations. Health problems related to obesity are the cause of death for five thousand New Yorkers each year. 
For this reason, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a bill to ban the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than sixteen ounces in restaurants, street carts and movie theaters. This, he hopes, will decrease the number of obesity-related deaths and other health problems in New York. Many New Yorkers oppose the measure, though, claiming that it will cause losses to small businesses and limit their rights. They do not want the government telling them what and how much they can drink, and they have a point. Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal will probably help with the obesity epidemic, but it does have some problems. First, people can buy multiple smaller-sized bottles of sugary drinks, which will amount to more than sixteen ounces, and it would be deemed legal. Also, his proposal only bans excessive amounts of soda to be sold in establishments that receive inspection grades from the health department. Therefore, convenience stores, vending machines, and some newsstands would be exempt from the law, as well as the sale of fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, alcoholic beverages, and no-calorie diet sodas. I believe that Bloomberg’s proposal is a good step toward fighting obesity, but I think he should follow through fully and ban the sale of excessive amounts of all sugary drinks everywhere in New York.