MK Danny Danon has recently introduced a bill which would outlaw the sale of sugary beverages in cups larger than 450 ml, claiming that it would help curb the growing rates of obesity in the Israeli population.
It’s safe to assume that obesity is a serious health risk which has negative impact on society and is associated with risk of many diseases including diabetes and heart disease. It is also safe to assume that consuming large quantities of sugary beverages on a regular basis can cause obesity. However the route that MK Danon is taking is ineffective.
As anyone who has ever struggled with a diet can tell, controlling obesity involves a great deal of self-control. If the proposed bill is passed, when someone who lacks that self control enters a culinary establishment with a thirst for a great big glass of cola, he will not hesitate to order a small 350 mL glass and then another one to quench that thirst. Limiting a man’s freedom by preventing him to buy one large glass, will not assist him in his struggle to close his trousers over his bulging gut. Even if he suffices with one small 350 mL glass of cola, perhaps he’ll order a high-fat, high-sugar dessert instead. Then, when he gets home, he’ll open a large, cold bottle of cola and pour himself a few glasses.
Lawmakers’ time and effort should be focused on finding ways to encourage fitness and proper diet among citizens. Here are a few ways that I can think of, without taking away personal freedoms that we deserve.
1. Education: Children need to know about obesity and learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Encourage or even subsidize weight-loss workshops. The money invested in education will be saved in future health bills.
2. Encouraging exercise: Support aerobic exercise for the masses rather than focusing on sports which involve a few players and many spectators who sit around watching while cracking sunflower seeds.
3. Encourage healthy commuting: Incentivize employees to commute to work by bicycle and walking. Encourage employers to install facilities to enable employees to bike/ run to work.
4. Food labeling: Make it easier for a typical consumer to understand how much sugar and fat there is in a product.
These are just a few measures that can be taken to help fight obesity without interfering with our personal freedoms.