Michelle Obama Steers Clear Of NYC Ban
New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, may have come under serious criticism from the soft drink manufacturers and some sections of the civil society, but he has a sort of breather in the form of the First Lady, Michelle Obama. No, Michelle did not support the ban on jumbo-sized soft drinks but she did say that Bloomberg’s effort to ban large servings of sugary drinks was something that needed to be done at the Federal level. The First Lady, however, stopped short of endorsing the ban completely.
1) Nanny State?
While speaking about Bloomberg’s ban during a recent interview, Michelle appeared to be treading a fine line between coming across as serious about improving America’s health and not being called a part of the “nanny state”. In the country, especially in case of such bans or similar measures on unhealthy public habits, the public has not been kind in receiving such “instructions” from the federal authorities. The critics have usually terms the government a “nanny state” for trying to tell people how or what to eat. Although, the First Lady is no stranger to public backlash because she has been a long-term advocate of healthy eating habits through her program, “Let’s Move.”
2) The Support
When asked about her thoughts on the Bloomberg ban, she made it clear that the country had no “one-size-fits-all” resolution of the obesity problem or other health challenges. However, she added, “We applaud anyone who’s stepping up to think about what changes work in their communities. New York is one example. There are people like Mayor Bloomberg who are, and that is perfectly fine.” In fact, Mrs. Obama recently endorsed the Walt Disney Co.’s move to ban junk food advertising on its Television channels, radio stations, and websites.
3) The Clarification
Soon after the interview, the White House issued a statement on behalf of Mrs. Obama, in which the First Lady said, “I was trying to make the point that every community is different and every solution is different and that I applaud local leaders including mayors, business leaders, parents, etc., who are taking this issue seriously and working towards solving this problem.” However, distancing herself from the Bloomberg ban, she added, “But this is not something the administration is pursuing at a federal level and not something I’m specifically endorsing or condemning.”
4) The Ban Aftermath
While the First Lady took a middle-path approach to the ban, reactions from New Yorkers are more extreme ever since Bloomberg proposed to the “Board of Health” a ban on sugary drinks weighing more than 16 ounces. A poll conducted in the aftermath of the ban revealed that 53% of New Yorkers felt that the Mayor was going too far in its fight against obesity. Even the soda companies are critical of the Mayor and they feel that people should be given the freedom to choose what is best for them.
Well, this fight seems to be far from ending and once Bloomberg’s proposed ban is either accepted or rejected by the Board, it will be clearer which side is winning.
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