retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning in a front page story reports on the obesity problems that continue to plague the borough of the Bronx, where more than two-thirds of adults are overweight.

The problem has led to a number of initiatives, the Times writes: "A hospital offers Zumba and cooking classes. Farmers markets dole out $2 coupons for cantaloupe and broccoli. An adopt-a-bodega program nudges store owners to stock low-fat milk. And one apartment building even slowed down its elevator, and lined its stairwells with artwork, to entice occupants into some daily exercise ... But, if anything, this battery of efforts points to how intractable the obesity problem has become in New York’s poorest borough."

And this intractability is one of the things that led NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg to call for new regulations that would ban the sale of jumbo sugared soft drinks by restaurants (though not by c-stores, as it happens).

Bloomberg maintains that the proposal - which is expected to be implemented by the NYC Health Department - is not designed to limit people's rights, but rather to deal with an increasingly troublesome issue. “We are absolutely committed to doing everything in our power to help you get on track and stay on track to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” he says. “Because this isn’t your crisis alone — it is a crisis for our city and our entire country.”
KC's View:
This continues to be a tough one for me, just as it is for a lot of people. (Jon Stewart continues to make comedic hay out of it on "The Daily Show." Last night, he engaged London Mayor Boris Johnson in a discussion that led to Johnson offering sanctuary in London to people who want to buy jumbo sodas.)

I recognize the seriousness of the problem, but I don't think that the notion of restricted freedoms should be minimized. And the thing is, it could take generations before we start to see any improvement.