New & Now

First Foodie vs. New York Nanny

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When it comes to the legislation of health and nutrition, two names come to mind: Michelle Obama, the first foodie of the United States; and Mayor Bloomberg, the so-called Nanny of New York City. Recently, Bloomberg has received a lot of flak for his ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. Critics wonder whether this sort of regulation is the best way to affect change in the diets of New Yorkers. Michelle Obama, on the other hand, has gotten great press for her new cookbook and continuing garden projects. They are using very different tactics to solve the same problem - obesity and malnutrition. So who's methods are more effective? Well, according to an article in The Economist, this round goes to the First Foodie. 


What is it about Michelle that makes people want to put down the soda and pick up the carrots? Well, the article suggests it has something to do with the fact that she is, "...battling obesity on multiple fronts: exercise, healthy eating, teaching city children to garden, family dinners. Not incidentally, "American Grown" is a remarkably happy book, full of photogenic vegetables, delicious recipes and people who enjoy farming and gardening. Contrast this with Mr. Bloomberg's strictures."

The point is well taken. Dangling a carrot (in the case of Michelle, an "organic, lightly poached, tarragon-dressed carrot) can do much more than brandishing the stick. That isn't to say that Bloomberg's plan is misguided or even that it will not work. Certainly, it will do something to reduce liquid calorie consumption in NYC. Maybe, though, Bloomberg should incorporate a carrot into his plan - something to earn him a better nickname than "Nanny."

Stick or Carrot? from The Economist.