The Case for the 16 oz. Soda

Have you heard all the fuss? Mayor Bloomberg of New York City plans to limit the cup size of soda served to a customer to 16 oz. This is getting people all up in arms with arguments from this will impede on their personal freedoms, it’s Big Brother-like, or stating the obvious, this won’t solve the larger problem—please refer back to previous blog that focused on the HBO documentary The Weight of the Nation.  In truth, while the cup size might be changed, a customer could get multiple servings and unlimited refills, if desired. So if you are really, really thirsty, you can get all the soda you want!

As a parent, I appreciate the Mayor putting this out there for discussion. I’m disappointed it’s getting so much negative feedback, particularly when we can see so many people, children in particular, at increased weights. This isn’t about the negative stigma we still associate with being “fat.” This is about helping consumers, including our children, who are relying on adults to guide them, to make healthier (I’ll even suggest better) choices.

When I was a kid, we would go to McDonald’s on occasion to eat. My husband and I were reflecting on cup sizes back then. A small was indeed, small. Medium was indeed, medium. Large was indeed, you can see where this is going, large.  In fact, I can recall my two sisters and I would get one large root beer drink to share between the three of us on road trips—three of us shared one large drink.  Seems unimaginable now.

Politicians are taking stands ranging from “…this is a good way to help educate people on making better food choices” to “don’t we have bigger issues to focus on?”  The last part kills me. Are there bigger issues, really? Were they even aware of their words? Shouldn’t our country’s citizens including our children’s health, be a top priority? We have these debates about healthcare in our country, and who should pay, but aren’t willing to discuss some potential steps, like limiting the size of soda served, in helping address the problem?

My children don’t drink soda, but I know one day they will. I am for returning to the smaller serving sizes of soda if it helps my children, their peers and our country take a step towards being a little more knowledgeable and a little healthier. I’m thankful for this recent study that shows sensible ways for parents to cut their child’s soda intake. I’m all for anyone who cares about my health and my families from researchers, doctors to Mayor Bloomberg.