found at http://www.sodahead.com/living/new-york-city-may-ban-sodas-larger-than-16-ounces-smart-or-stupid/question-2693881
In the past few weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made national headlines with his proposal to ban large sized sodas at restaurants, theaters, stadiums, delicatessens and food carts. The proposal aims to encourage people to drink less of the obesity-causing sugary drinks.
The immediate reaction in the media was not kind. Those on the political right attacked the ban as an assault on personal freedom. Even those associated with the left, like comedian Jon Stewart lambasted the proposal. A full page NY Times advertisement featuring Mayor Bloomberg in a dress was entitled, “The Nanny: You only thought you lived in the land of the free.” These criticisms are not, in my view, simply part of an ideological battle about the proper role of government but also part of a disagreement over the validity of the sociological imagination. (more…)
In recent months, proposals for “fat taxes” have gained growing popularity amongst certain academic and political circles. Proponents for such measures suggest that such policies would help lower America’s obesity rate and/or help fund a public healthcare plan. A series of articles from Slate.com invoke (in part) a seemingly Foucauldian lens in examining this trend.
By Dena T. Smith
Part of MSNBC’s lineup includes an hour-long daytime show hosted by the physician, Dr. Nancy. In a segment of her show on Monday, August 31st, she hosted a panel to address the “war on fat people.” Panel members discussed topics such as the etiology of obesity and how the obese are treated in the US. Articles of a similar nature have appeared elsewhere, including the one below, which was featured in a recent edition of Newsweek. Overweight Americans have long been a target of criticism and mockery and even as other behaviors, addictions and illnesses have been at least partly de-stigmatized, obesity seems to be left in the cold. In other words, the discussion surrounding obesity has a similar tone to debates over other conditions and/or illnesses that are under scrutiny both in American society and globally. The tension is about the attribution of blame and the pendulum swings back and forth between personal responsibility and genetic predisposition. Who or what do we blame for obesity, depression, diabetes, addiction, etc.? How do we assign responsibility for the existence of illnesses when there is evidence that biology and lifestyle, environment, culture and elements of the social structure of a society impact said condition? Of late, most mental illness (both “milder” afflictions such as depression and anxiety as well as more severely impairing conditions like schizophrenia), and physical illness are attributed to problems in biology or chemical imbalances. However, when it comes to obesity, Americans are quite reluctant to accept the biological blame game and this is highly consequential for the way in which overweight individuals are seen and understand themselves and their experiences.
In the United States, the agricultural industry produces massive quantities of cheap foods such as meats and grains. Although meats and grains are monetarily inexpensive, they have hidden costs to the environment, animals, and humans.
Americans spend less money per calorie than ever before. But, what’s wrong with purchasing and consuming cheap foods? Although farmers are producing more calories than in the past, they are tending to produce more unhealthy calories because of the types of foods that the government subsidizes.
Mainstream farming not only contributes to obesity, but also encourages the use of chemicals that degrade the environment. For example, the fertilizers applied on crops sometimes create run-off killing fish, thereby reducing people’s ability to consume high protein sources.