Originally published June 10 2011
New York may bar food stamps from being used on soda
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The state of New York is looking to ban the use of food stamps for the purchase of soda. We think it's about time. In the same vein as a new Florida law that requires those receiving state taxpayer benefits to get drug-tested beforehand,
this report, New York has petitioned the federal government to allow state officials to ban food stamp recipients from using them to purchase soft drinks.
If first lady Michelle Obama's effort to reduce childhood obesity through better nutrition is worth its weight, she'll convince her husband to make sure Health and Human Services approves the request.
Currently there are 1.7 million New Yorkers on food stamps. If only half of them bought an average of three sodas at $1 each daily, that's $2.5 million a day it is costing taxpayers, or $76.5 million a month.
That figure is staggering in and of itself, but subsidizing an incredibly unhealthy practice is mind boggling, especially given the fact that drinking soda has so many bad health side effects it almost seems ludicrous to continue documenting it.
Moreover, the ingestion of soft drinks is known to be a catalyst for other health disorders and diseases, such as lowering calcium levels (which leads to osteoporosis) and causing anaphylactic (allergic) reactions.
In all, experts say Americans, on average, consume about 150 quarts of soft drinks per year, or about three quarts per week. The U.S. is the world's number one consumer of soda pop. Soda consumption is known to cause people to be overweight an obese, two related conditions that will affect three-fourths of Americans by 2020.
And, as obesity rates rise, so, too, does the incidence of diabetes. In fact, the current obesity epidemic will cause the number of people with the disease to double by 2034, and medical costs related to that dramatic rise to triple by then.
Which all ties back into cost: A large number of people on food stamps are also receiving government health care benefits. So by subsidizing soda purchases, the government is subsidizing obesity and higher incidences of diabetes and adding to its health care costs.
Does this sound like something Washington should be doing? Granting New York - and any other state - the right ban to food stamp recipients from purchasing foods and drinks that worsen their health and add to the nation's health care bill seems like a good idea.
Which goes to the heart of the issue - the gross injustice of making those of us who want to improve our health and live cleaner lives pay for the poor decisions of others. If someone wants to pollute their bodies with poisons, they should be allowed to do so, but only on their own dime.
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