Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bloomberg's health legacy: Urban innovator or meddling nanny?

Date:
October 30, 2013
Source:
The Hastings Center
Summary:
As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg prepares to leave office, a commentary by a leading bioethicist analyzes his controversial public health policies and concludes that he is an urban innovator who created a new paradigm of public health, "reaching beyond infectious diseases to upstream risk factors in everyday life and the human habitat."

As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg prepares to leave office, a commentary by a leading bioethicist analyzes his controversial public health policies and concludes that he is an urban innovator who created a new paradigm of public health, "reaching beyond infectious diseases to upstream risk factors in everyday life and the human habitat." The commentary appears in the Hastings Center Report.

Related Articles


Lawrence O. Gostin, University Professor and Founding O'Neill Chair in Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center, focuses on Bloomberg's major policies to address the obesity epidemic, improve disease surveillance, increase physical activity, and control tobacco use.

Of the policies on diet and nutrition, Gostin cites as particularly successful the city's limit on trans fatty acids, which "provide no health benefit and are unsafe at any level." In 2006, the city required that any food served to customers (unless in a sealed package) contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving. "Although the trans fat limit received a warmer public response than other diet-related policies, it still met opposition from restaurants and civil libertarians," Gostin writes. However, the city's limit on trans fats served as a model in the United States and globally, "and low trans fat has now become a widely accepted norm."

Gostin also cites Mr. Bloomberg's tobacco policies, which have dramatically reduced smoking: "Between 2002 and 2011, the rate of smoking fell from 21.5 percent to 41.8 percent among adults and from 17.5 percent to 8.5 percent among youth." Although it is impossible to point to any single tobacco policy, Bloomberg implemented "a range of policies (e.g., taxes, labeling, smoke-free laws, and advertising restrictions) that worked in combination over time to de-normalize smoking."

Gostin explains why, despite the label of "Nanny Bloomberg," the mayor's controversial soda portion limit makes sense: "The mayor relied on science to support a creative, untested strategy: sugary drinks deliver empty calories, with a direct relationship to obesity, while portion sizes have grown exponentially. Society cannot know what works until commonsense ideas are tested." The soda portion limit is currently being decided by the New York State's highest court.

Gostin also singles out Bloomberg's program for monitoring diabetes. When the prevalence of diabetes in New York City nearly tripled in a decade, rising from 3.7 percent in 1994 to 9.2 percent in 2004, the city declared it an epidemic. In response, the city required laboratories to report blood sugar test results to the health department, which then informed treating physicians and patients with elevated blood sugar. "The program is one of the first uses of surveillance that not only tracks a chronic, noncommunicable disease but also links the data to concrete interventions," Gostin writes. "It bridges the historic divide between public health and medicine, thus offering pathways for future programs."

In addition, Gostin analyzes Bloomberg's policies for menu labeling, facilitating bicycle use, and increasing the number of pedestrian paths and parks. Gostin also offers point-by-point analysis of the critiques of Bloomberg and his policies, including charges of paternalism, assertions that the policies infringe upon corporate rights, and objections to his wielding of unilateral executive power

Regardless of the mixed success of the policies and the criticisms leveled at them, Gostin concludes that Bloomberg's approach to public health is not a passing fad. "It is rather a sober and necessary response to an epidemiological transition to life-style related diseases," he writes. "The public health community should take time to recognize and defend its champions-and Mayor Bloomberg undoubtedly is among our most courageous and creative advocates for a healthier and safer population."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Hastings Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lawrence O. Gostin. Bloomberg’s Health Legacy: Urban Innovator or Meddling Nanny? Hastings Center Report, October 2013

Cite This Page:

The Hastings Center. "Bloomberg's health legacy: Urban innovator or meddling nanny?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030111421.htm>.
The Hastings Center. (2013, October 30). Bloomberg's health legacy: Urban innovator or meddling nanny?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030111421.htm
The Hastings Center. "Bloomberg's health legacy: Urban innovator or meddling nanny?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131030111421.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins