By Jeff Hyman, Founder and CEO, RETROFIT
As the Founder of Chicago-based online weight-loss company Retrofitme.com, I have been asked many times recently for my perspective on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s master plan to ban large sodas and sugary drinks. I wish ending the U.S. obesity epidemic was that easy.
Retrofit was founded on the premise that people need support and guidance on their journey to health. We take a holistic approach to weight loss. It’s not an overnight fix. It’s going to be slow and steady, but at the end of the road, it will work because we believe that teaching people how to change their behavior and make smarter choices is the first breakthrough step.
While there is no doubt we live in an obesigenic society, we cannot blame statistics or food trends. Each of us must accept individual responsibility for our behavior – and seek help when we can’t do it alone. In the face of countless messages from savvy food marketers, fast food restaurants, soda companies, super-sized portion sizes, and other temptations, it isn’t easy.
The mayor’s heart is in the right place. But unfortunately, his pure intentions won’t help. Lasting health change can’t be imposed from the outside. Even the best weight loss program is useless if the individual is not ready to make a lasting change. The “nanny state” might make a single drink choice a little more inconvenient, but unless the government can magically switch on the motivation in each citizen, it is destined to have little impact. It sounds basic, but the hard reality is that to turn the tide on the obesity epidemic, we need people who are willing to commit to living differentially. Each day, each meal, each food decision. (more…)
Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, recently spoke out on allegations of his company being responsible for the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Kent’s responses come weeks after New York City Mayor Bloomberg proposed to limit the consumption of sugary drinks over 16 ounces. Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to help lower obesity rates is making headlines across the country. Bloomberg’s proposal will change the sugary drink game for any restaurant, fast-food chain, and any place of business that offers beverages.
Kent says Coca-Cola is not responsible in any way for the rising obesity rates and that obesity is a societal issue. “It is, I believe, incorrect and unjust to put the blame on any single ingredient, any single product, any single category of food,” was Kent’s response to Bloomberg’s proposal. (more…)
The city that never sleeps might finally get some rest because of the reduction in caffeine from their soda and coffee. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is superman in disguise trying to save the city’s population from obesity. On May 30, 2012, Bloomberg proposed the banning of beverages more than 16 ounces in size at eating establishments. Not only would restaurants in New York be affected, but movie theaters, street food carts, and sports arenas, too. Sugary sodas greater than 16 ounces would be gone and so would sweetened tea, coffees, fruit juices, milk shakes, and alcoholic beverages. The public outcry will be the toughest hurdle for the mayor to jump. If the proposal is approved by the Board of Health then all sugary beverages with more than 16 ounces will be banned from New York City.
Mayor Bloomberg has a history of obesity-fighting proposals. His efforts to make the city healthier have always been met with debate and controversy, and often succeed. Mary Hartley, RD, a NYC resident and our dietitian, noted the ban on artificial trans fats in the city. She also praised the Mayor’s actions to ban smoking, calling it “most remarkable.” (more…)
Last October, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture prevent New York residents from using food stamps to purchase soda and other sugary drinks. On Friday, the USDA rejected the proposal, partly citing the difficulty of sorting out which beverages would and wouldn’t be allowed under the policy.
Dr. Thomas A. Farley, New York City’s health commissioner, said he was “very upset” by the proposal’s rejection, adding that it “really calls into question how serious the USDA is about addressing the nation’s most serious nutritional problem,” reports the New York Times.
The choice was obviously a victory for the soda industry, which lobbied against the proposal. Some advocates for the poor were also against the bill, arguing that forcing food-stamp users to shop differently is a stigmatizing experience. “The whole attempt was misguided and unworkable,” Mr. Berg said. “This proposal was based on the false assumption that poor people were somehow ignorant or culturally deficient.”
Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill that will encourage city agencies to purchase more locally grown food, and another to reduce wasteful packaging. According to WNYC, the bill will includes foods that are grown, produced and processed in New York.
“These provisions will help the city and the public better track where agencies’ food comes from and where tax dollars are spent,” Bloomberg said. “It will also result in agencies buying much more food from farms and processing facilities in the Empire State.”
The law further requires that an annual report to be published on the food the city buys. Earlier this summer, City Council became the first city government to participate in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. “It may cost a tiny bit more, but it saves money in the end because it can stay longer in the schools. It can stay longer in the person’s home, and it’s fresher,” Manhattan City Councilwoman Gale Brewer told NY1.