(An open letter to Mayor Bloomberg)
I am writing to you regarding your proposed new anti-obesity initiative, which would ban the sale of large sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters, and food carts.
While I agree that something must be done to address the growing obesity problem in this city and that this policy derives from those good intentions, I believe that this policy just goes too far. There are surely other ways to curb obesity rates in this city that do not involve infringing on an individual’s personal choices.
At a time when school budgets and after-school programs, which are essential tools in maintaining healthy lifestyles for children, are being cut, we should be concentrating on finding ways to restore this funding, not banning large sodas. Restoring this crucial funding will help kids get their required physical education in school and give them the ability to participate in programs like the New York Junior Tennis League, which uses tennis to teach elementary and middle school students about sports and nutrition.
In addition, as I have mentioned on several occasions, I urge you to restore funding to the Beacon Program, which by providing after-school and summer school activities, gives hard-working parents, many whom have no other option, the ability to keep their children in a safe, healthy, and dependable environment.
Just as a another example, PS 35 in my district does not even have a gym.
I urge you to continue your efforts to combat high levels of obesity in this city not through gimmicks but by restoring funding to programs that contain real initiatives to help children maintain healthy and nutritious lifestyles.