New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has long made it one of his goals to clear his city of unhealthy foods — the banning of trans fats was a notable move — and this week he asked the federal government if he could forbid the city's food-stamp recipients from using stamps to buy soda. Some public health experts who spoke to The New York Times were wary of agreeing with Bloomberg's stance. "The world would be better, I think, if people limited their purchases of sugared beverages," said George Hacker, senior policy adviser for the health-promotion project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "However, there are a great many ethical reasons to consider why one would not want to stigmatize people on food stamps." Those "people on food stamps" — the city's poor, many of them racial and ethnic minorities — are not necessarily the demographic known for making the most nutritious food choices. One reason for this is that the most nutritious food choices can be more expensive and inaccessible in poorer neighborhoods. Speaking of inaccessible, there's a very distinct possibility that in the near future, soda will be on the list of items you can't buy with food stamps. Bloomberg is a mayor with a history of getting his way.
Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.