Nanny State Failure in Action in the Big Apple

It is too late to blame obesity on global warming?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be infamously remembered for his efforts to impose many nanny-state policies on those he governed, such as his successful ban on trans fats from the city’s restaurants and his unsuccessful crusade against the sale of sodas of larger sizes.  Bloomberg wanted more stairs installed in the city’s buildings, more bike lanes on its busy streets and less tobacco everywhere.

But, as his rule comes to an end, it seems the fruits of his labors turned sour.

In a new report from his city health office, it is reported the obesity rate among residents of the Big Apple actually grew by 25 percent during his tenure in City Hall.  Back in 2002, only one in five New Yorkers (18 percent) was considered to be obese — now, it’s one in four (24 percent)!

And that’s also taking into account that New Yorkers apparently took some of Bloomberg’s nannying to heart.  In addition to not being able to enjoy dining out with trans fats or not knowing the calories of their cuisine, the New York Postreports daily consumption of one of more sugary beverages did drop from 36 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2012.  And people are also reportedly more likely to eat their vegetables and engage in a more active lifestyle.

Yet the mayor lost the battle of the bulge despite a heavy hand on his New York constituents.

Not one to accept defeat gladly, Bloomberg was quoted by WABC-TV said: “This is not a problem that’s going to go away.”  His public health office further spun the failure when it added: “We expect a lag in changes in the adult obesity rate after a change in diet.”

Project 21P21CherylynLeBon co-chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a long-time critic of Bloomberg’s nanny-state policies, finds this situation quite amusing, noted:

Once again, Mayor Bloomberg’s nanny state policies are simply a failure.

With Bloomberg’s war on soft drinks and his war on sodium, he has not yielded the results he expected as is evidenced by the rise in obesity in New York City.

We have long known that you cannot mandate behavior.  It just doesn’t work.  People have to want to lose weight and they have to want to try to change.  The government cannot expect the habits and actions of people to change at such a personal level simply because they believe they have the power to mandate it.

When people take their own initiative and make their own plan to lose weight, become more active or drop a habit — that’s where real results can happen.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.