Sunday, June 10, 2012


Three recent events in Yew York have come together in my mind although their connection is not obvious at first.  The first is Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to limit fountain drinks in restaurants to 16 oz.  The second is the proposed system of bike rental stations to enable point-to-point temporary bike use.  The third is the clamor to end horse-drawn carriage rides.  This last was prompted by an incident involving an injury to a horse involved in an accident with an SUV.

The connection for me is that these can all be looked at as public health issues.

I went to the pharmacy to buy a thermometer last week and could not find one until I asked, but there was row upon row of glucose-testing devices.  Clearly we have a public health issue surrounding obesity if so many people have, or are at risk of having, type 2 diabetes.  I know this is anecdotal, and so are my observations about people on the streets and the subway, but we all know that people have gotten fatter and less healthy mostly because they eat poorly and don't get out and exercise.  I applaud Mr. Mayor (hardly a socialist) for his genuine concern and wisdom as a public servant, for both the soft drink initiative and the Citibike program.  Both will contribute to a healthier community.  Additional bike lanes will ultimately help congestion.  Maybe these can be designated for horse-drawn vehicles as well.  New Yorkers are an adaptive species.  Smokers complained bitterly at each new set of smoking regulations, and yet they became "the new normal" very quickly.  I remember when wheelchair lifts were installed on buses and was soon amazed at the speed with which drivers could make it work, causing minimal interruption to bus rides.  If SUVs are colliding with horses, maybe it is the SUVs that are the problem, not the horses.

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