Monday, September 24, 2012
In case you didn’t catch it in the news, New York City’s so-called “soda ban” was recently approved by the NYC Board of Health. Of course, every time government legislates to protect and promote the public health and prevent disease costly to both individuals and society, it meets with outcry as opinions flare as to what role government should play in our lives where individual choices are concerned.
As someone trained in health promotion, disease prevention, and nutrition, I certainly have my own views on this matter that occasionally surface here or on my Facebook fan page. (Please like the page if you haven’t already. Thanks!) That said, I don’t usually get into such matters on my blog, as it’s not really my gig in this forum. My classes, absolutely, but I don’t find the digital environment a good one for meaningful debate on complex topics: sociopolitical views color all aspects of life, not just what we eat, and I’ve no desire to be a pundit. Besides, this blog is directed towards individuals: when all is said and done, you are the one ultimately responsible for what you choose to eat.
Forget Politics: How Informed Are Your Opinions?
At any rate, I do use my blog for educational purposes directed both towards my students as well as the broader public, obviously. In fact, whether implied or explicit, my writing is almost always focused on teaching. I often try to do so by example in what I cook and eat rather than blatant nutrition education, which is less fun, frankly, and not as tasty. I also sometimes haul out broader pieces focused on science itself as my diet and general decision making are evidence-based. Therefore, regardless of your political proclivities, it’s critical to equip yourselves with accurate facts and up-to-date research. I’m assisted to that end today by a great video by Casey Neistat that sheds some light on the “ban.”
I found this video helpful in clarifying just what this law is and and isn’t. Did you?
Empower Your Thinking With Education
So what’s my point here? Two points, really. First, just to pass along an interesting clip that provides information on something you might not have fully gotten the details about: this often happens in a media environment filled with sensation and sound bites. To me, this was a good opportunity to do so by contrasting the words “ban” that filled many of the headlines with what the law actually says. And second, to challenge you to ask yourself what you really know about something before deciding what it does and does not mean, as this is a critical step in navigating today’s landscape replete with opinions that are can range from ill-informed to blatant anti-science.
I won’t tell you what to believe, but I do hope the information I provide will enlighten your thinking as you make choices in your own life. Oh, and speaking of soda, here’s a funny post on Moxie, Maine’s official soft drink that you should read if you haven’t seen it yet. (It’s actually one of my favorite all-time posts.) I also recommend reading Casey’s op ed that accompanied the video, which provides additional information on the new law.
Will I tell you what I think? Sure, if it’s based on the science, as that’s my mission. (Look for upcoming posts on GMOs and local eating to help clarify these thorny issues, too.) You can still reach your own conclusions–it’s a free country–but as an educator it is my hope to shed some scientific light on issues to help you better integrate such knowledge into your lives and daily (food) choices.
You can take the professor out of the university, after all, but you can’t take the university out of the professor.