Does Research Support NYC Mayor's Nutrition Regulations?
Two recent studies suggest that Bloomberg may be right, that legislation may be necessary for people to improve their health. See if you agree.
New laws went into full effect in New York City restaurants in July 2008. Now trans fat content must be less than .5 grams per serving. City health officials monitored fast-food fat content purchases before and after the law went into full effect. Newly published study results in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicate the introduction of local regulations were "associated with a substantial and statistically significant decrease in the trans fat content of purchases at fast-food chains, without commensurate increase in saturated fat."
Last month at the public hearings on sugary drinks, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's statements indicate some citizens know exactly why they are overweight. Markowitz denied oversized soda as the culprit to his own weight problems. Instead, he recognized choices such as too much pastrami, cream cheese and lox, and red velvet cake as bigger obstacles to his weight loss success. At the same time these unhealthy choices are being made, people are also drinking large bottles of sugary drinks like vitamin-enhanced water, other sugary sports drinks, and soda. All these factors together certainly contribute to difficulties in meeting healthy weight goals.
Previous research has found that sugary drinks contribute to the development of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome rates. A new study suggests there may be other reasons for these negative health developments besides just the additional calories. A study published last month in the European Journal of Nutrition found that healthy individuals that received four weeks of sugar-sweetened beverage supplementation experienced a metabolism shift away from fat and toward carbohydrates making metabolism less efficient. Over time, this shift can reduce the ability of the body to burn fat, which can in turn cause fat gain.
So with all that we know about the harmful influence of sugar-sweetened beverages and the early results of decreased trans fat purchase after citywide legislation, could Mayor Bloomberg be on to something? Are mandates and legislation the only way to get people to change their habits to improve health? Aren't people able to make healthful changes on their own? I believe everyone has the ability but accept that not everyone is motivated or interested in making health a priority. For those that do want to make a change on their own, here are some resources that can be helpful.
What do you think? Are mandates and legislation the only way to get people to change their habits to improve their health? Are people able to make necessary changes on their own to improve their health? Who benefits from the legislation? What is the harm in such legislation?
Is legislation the only way to get the majority of people in a community to change their habits to improve their health?
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