Maybe Bloomberg is on to something after all. A Gallup poll conducted earlier this month found that 48 percent—nearly half—of Americans drink soda on a daily basis, reported MSNBC. Furthermore, those who do indulge in this sugary drink average 2.6 glasses a day.
Consumption rates were higher among young adults ages 18 to 34, with 56 percent drinking at least one glass per day, compared to their 35 to 54-year-old counterparts, with only 46 percent consuming the same amount.
Interestingly, however, an average of 40 percent of both soda drinkers and non-soda drinkers reported being somewhat or very overweight. This may be because the poll did not specify what types or brands of soda people are consuming, nor did they distinguish between diet and regular soda. Regardless, health detriments are found in both—the high sugar content of regular sodas can be as harmful as the aspartame and chemicals found in diet varieties.
There is no doubt, however, that these results will provide ammunition for those who support New York City Mayor Bloomberg and his proposal to outlaw large size soft drinks. A hearing held last week provided a forum for politicians, soft-drink industry officials and public health experts to share their opinions.
The debate seems to be split down the middle, reports the New York Times, between those who support Bloomberg and his battle against obesity, and those whose business could be affected if the law is passed in September. Plus, there’re those who claim this ban is a violation of personal freedom of choice. Michael F. Jacobson, a founder of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in an article from The New York Times, “Portraying a vitally important health initiative as an assault on consumers’ rights is simply distracting.”
Only 8 of the 11 board members showed up to the hearing, but the board was hand picked by Mayor Bloomberg. “We know we’re playing against a stacked deck,” said Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an industry-sponsored group that opposes the mayor’s ban.
While the hearing may not have represented the average New Yorker’s perspective on the issue, the poll results confirm that Americans love their soda.