Sweet Truth

Article excerpt

Byline: Kent Sepkowitz

Why experts know what's best for your health.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration received a major setback March 11 when a judge halted its plan to limit the size of sugary drinks in New York City. The mayor had hoped the law would slow the pace of the obesity epidemic by limiting the number of empty calories citizens slurp daily. Although the link between sugary drinks and obesity is only circumstantial, most public-health experts strongly endorsed the move. The average American takes in about 170 calories a day from sugary drinks, and our consumption has doubled in the past few decades, mirroring the rise in obesity. Some project that the risk of obesity increases 1.6-fold for each soda consumed--perhaps because sugary soda usually doesn't result in a feeling of satiety.

I have just two words for celebrants: seat belts. Since 1968 federal law has required car manufacturers to place seat belts in all new cars. In 1984 New York was the first state to mandate wearing a seat belt, and since then, all states but New Hampshire (whose motto is "Live Free or Die") have passed similar laws. A majority of states, including many red states like Oklahoma and Texas, have adopted a "primary enforcement" law that permits police to stop and ticket a driver or passenger solely for not wearing a seat belt. …