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Sale of Large Sugary Drinks in New York

Restrictions on Sale of Large Sugary Drinks in New York City, Is it fair?

In evaluating the concept of leadership, DuBrin (2012: 35) notes that there are specific leadership principles, traits, motives as well as characters that must be employed in order to achieve success. This is the same approach that must be employed by medical practitioners in their desire to fight obesity. The situation of obesity in New York is an indication that a more progressive approach ought to be employed if medical practitioners are to effectively prevent obesity in New York. In addition, there is an urgent need for the support from the society, non-governmental organizations as well as the government. Good and effective decisions are therefore needed if obesity is to be eradicated from the society. If there is no support coming from the government and other stakeholders, it will be impossible to achieve this objective. According to Black (2008: 123), there exist large differences in obesity prevalence between neighborhoods in New York, further suggesting that the need for effective response.

The measures to be taken may be adequate if the various stakeholders, manufacturers of sugary drinks, politicians and the government are involved in deciding the appropriate measures needed to regulate the consumption of sugary drinks. The state of New York had previously put in place measures that restrict the consumption of sugary drinks but this cannot be the best solution needed to address this issue. The decisions taken towards responding to the obese situation in New York can be divided into different categories ranging from health and political as well as other levels of the society that are involved in decision making. The following analysis as illustrated in this chapter seeks to highlight the decisions which should be taken in order to have an Obesity free environment in New York. On the other hand, it is worth noting that while there may be various decisions being made, not all of them will be fundamental and effective in dealing with this situation.

As stated above, decision making concept is essential in any organization. Success can depend on how effective the decisions taken are implemented. On the other hand, when inadequate decisions are made, it is possible that long term solutions will not be achieved. Decision making skills is therefore one of the essential components that are needed in this case to respond to the situation of Obesity in New York. The essay will highlight some of the leadership skills and approach that was used by New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Another important component of how the situation of Obesity in New York was tacked was through good leadership that is dedicated for change (Horowitz, 2007, p.89). The need to fight Obesity by responding to measures such as preventing people from taking sugary drinks may be seen as an ineffective approach. It is therefore a good orientation when the situation has a leadership focused approach.

Another strategic dimension is with regards to ethical orientation and how they can affect the fight against Obesity in New York. While the management in New York can undertake to make life changing decisions, they have to base their conclusion from an ethical dimension. New York is a city that can be termed as rich in cultural diversity. Therefore, some decisions may culturally affect the residing residents. These were some of the ethical dilemma that the New York Mayor had to face in arriving at a final decision. Ethical decisions have the ability of influencing how an individual behave (Spencer et al,2000, p.136). In addition, there are various factors such as health concerns which influence how people relate to sugary drinks. The type of decisions made by a leader must therefore reflect the ethical concerns of a society but must also be considerate about the health of its members regardless of whether the decision is unpopular.

Leadership, Bloomberg Style

All those who reside in New York will acknowledge the transformative nature of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his effective response towards fighting increasing level of Obesity. While many leaders will want to play the game of the local people so as to win votes, Michael Bloomberg demonstrates leadership capabilities that seek to state that a leader must stand tall beyond telling people what they want to hear but to concentrate on the truth. This was the approach that was employed by Michael Bloomberg. The mayor was able to apply his wealth experience that has seen him become successful in various fields such as marketing, technology and data analysis as well as a result driven approach to respond to various issues. It is worth noting that the leadership approach of Bloomberg towards Obesity situation in New York is that of a manager leading the corporation (Gill, 2006, p.39).

Bloomberg noted that when one takes this dimension, he or she learns to look at the citizens as the number one priority and hence the need to respond effectively to their needs. In addition, Bloomberg saw that while working with the people, one has to appreciate the role of police officers, clerks, sanitation workers and all citizens as a binding part of the solution. According to Bloomberg, a good leader must be able to listen to what its citizens have to say but must not be drawn to what they want no matter whether it is harmful to their health or not. The ideal behind listening to the people of New York, according to Bloomberg, is to get ideas and insights on how he could respond to the situation. Bloomberg begun by taking active responsive measures; and this included forming a social interaction channel where the people of New York could respond to serious issues that affect them on a daily basis.

Bloomberg worked with a team that was effective, and maintained that it was essential for a leader to ask whether his or her members have trust in him. According to Bloomberg, a leader who wants to respond to a situation such as sugary levels drinks in New York was to win the trust of the team members. It was only after he had won the trust of his team members that Bloomberg notes that he was able to cultivate a culture of trust. The employees who have worked under Bloomberg acknowledged that he makes the subordinate feel empowered in discharging their responsibilities and as a result, people tend to be ready to take risks and create culture of innovation. Furthermore, it is essential that leaders in a management as well as the subordinates be able to move from a region of comfort to an area where they can adequately respond to the situation.

Literature Review

Governmental Politics Model 

The government politics model explains why many citizens wonder how policy decisions are arrived at in government (Denhardt et al 2001, p. 137). Some decision made in top level position in government are contrary to what the citizenry expects and would decide otherwise  if faced by the same decision. Therefore, the only explanation is based on an irrational decision due to government politics.

In the case of the sugar industry several studies have been done concerning the effect of sugary food substances but most of those studies have often been ignored by policy makers (Kansagra, 2012). One such example is a study carried by Ron Arky a Harvard Medical School Professor who received funding from Sugar Association to determine if sucrose had an effect on blood sugar level if consumed alongside other complex carbohydrates. The findings of the study were ignored by the Sugar Association. According to Arky remarks the Sugar Association “did not care”. Therefore, rather than the association doing a definitive research about the effects sugar foods and learn about the truth it stuck to public relation design that favored the food manufactures and ignored the plight of its public. In addition, the sugar association established a Food and Nutrition Advisory Council that defended sugars place in a healthy diet.  The food manufacturing industry championed the nation that rising cholesterol and dietary fats where the likely cause of heart disease and diabetes (Denhardt et al 2001, p. 138). According to Tatern in a letter to the Times Magazines that some sugar critics were pushed to keep the spin of saturated fats. A nutritionist Ancel Key of the University was a major proponent of this view and received financial support from the sugar industry and often clashed with Yudin who held opposing views and was a vocal supporter of the sugar hypothesis. The Sugar Association used experts to support the claim that sugar was an important component of good and healthy diet. They often relied on the expertise of Francisco Grande and William Connor both whom where nutrition experts who supported the claim that dietary cholesterol is the leading cause of heart diseases and diabetes(Denhardt et al 2001, p. 138).

Rational Model

The rational model explains that people makes choices that maximizes profits while keeping cost at minimum. Using this theory, it used to explain the phenomena of consumerism and business decisions on the consumption of sugary foods (Maziak & Ward, 2009 p.2136). 

On basic assumption made on health marketing is that consumers will make the correct when provide with correct information. However, such an approach is too simplistic in the current market economy. First, the rational choice theory fails to consider technological advancement, which is often problematic and encourages overconsumption (Maziak & Ward, 2009 p.2136). However, at more complex level economic forces such as globalization cannot be changed by the rational choice approach. An individual in the current market economy is often targeted with thousand of consumption ads, each with its own set of rational arguments, which are antidotes of how one can avoid health rated risk through consumption of such products.

In addition, individuals prefer different choices which offer different risk rewards in the future e.g a healthy diet long term health benefits however, those in favor for immediate gratification often facing rated health problems in future. Even though this gratification conflict is know, what is often ignored in such debates is that human beings are wired for the immediate gratification rather than future rewards.

Lastly, market forces drive consumption patterns and choices of individual. However, individual have a choice on what they consume (Maziak & Ward, 2009 p.2136). In the United States for examples powerful interest groups such as food industry lobby shape public policy and governments are increasingly more responsive to their interest than pro-health pressure groups. Therefore, the government is priority to maintain economic growth and health wellness being a bi-product of economic growth.

The Rationalist Approach

Rationalist models are often used to explain how decision are arrived and made. The actor of the decision maker is aware of a problem; conceives a goal and careful weighs of possible alternatives and choose one in reference to current state of affairs (Etzioni, 1967, p.385). Even through technology aided the collection of information in the case, it did not offer the computation required for a rationalists model. In the rational model decisions are made deliberately and consciously with regard to the judgment of the decision maker thoughts and behavior (p.133). In addition, it makes the assumption that individual and group behave rationally in both when making the decision and taking it. Therefore try to maximize on the value they receive from the situation. Make value-maximizing choices. 

Incremental Approach

This is less difficult approach of decision-making. The approach is discounted seeks to take the decision making process in incremental stages to limit cognitive capacities of decision marker and reduce the scope of information collected and computation (Gordon& Milakovich, 2012, p.200). Incremental decision tend to be remedial; small steps are taken in the correct direction in circumstances where mistakes are made the course is altered. However; the decision if it is a correct or wrong will be evaluated by the criteria used   by the decision maker. It can be said that the incremental approach drifts and has no clear directions (Etzioni, 1967, p.387).  . Therefore, a more attractive approach would be one that embraces [1].High order high order with a set of direction and [2]. An incremental processes and prepares once the decisions are reached. 

Mixed Scanning Approach

Offers a realistic approach for decision markers, it embraces those two approaches (incremental and rationalist approaches). The exploration of mixed-scanning is important to differentiate between fundamental decisions from incremental ones Etzioni, 1967, p.389).   Fundamental decisions are those that the decision maker’s views in terms of his goals, however, unlike rationalist approach would that indicate details and specification this are omitted to make the overview feasible. Therefore, incremental decisions are made within the confines of the fundamental decision. Mixed scanning helps reduce the shortcomings; Incrementalist performed limits the unrealistic portions of rationalism by limiting the details required in the fundamental decisions. On the hand rationalism reduces long-run alternatives. Consequently, mixed scanning approach is a more effective approach in the decision making process.

Analysis of Concepts:

Ration Model: The restriction sales of sugary drinks will lower obesity and people will be healthy and live longer, one might consider this to be a rational decision because according to this is the way Bloomberg was think because has the public interest at heart people he wants people to live longer (Colvin, 2012). “The city's Board of Health approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugar-sweetened drinks” (Colvin, 2012, para. 1).Moreover, the ration model  illustrates why businesses are unwilling to comply with new law.” The American soft-drink industry, joined by several New York restaurant and business groups, filed a lawsuit on Friday that aims to overturn restrictions” (Grynbaum, 2012, para. 1). Businesses have shareholder interest, whose primary goal is profitability and return.

Incremental Model - Step-by-step approach in the implementation of the nutritional laws in New York it begun by posting calories counts on menus and later moved to sugary drinks.” Mr. Bloomberg’s previous public health initiatives, including a smoking ban and a requirement for disclosure of calorie count on restaurant menus” (Grynbaum, 2012 para. 7). The restriction does not apply to convenience and grocery store. Therefore, Bloomberg decision is incremental in its application he begun through posting on calories levels on menu and later restriction of sales of sugary drinks.

Mixed Scanning: used both fundament decision and incremental approaches. Fundamental -restriction on the use of substances that cause health relates complication. “Bloomberg argues the ban would be a huge blow against obesity in the city. (Colvin, 2012, para. 8).”  Incremental: post of calories counts on menus and later on sugary drinks. ”The limits will not apply to drinks sold in grocery stores, diet sodas, drinks that are more than 70-percent fruit juice, or that contain alcohol” (Colvin, 2012, para. 4).”  The restriction on sales on sugary foods in New York is not the first of such initiative by the mayor. The differentiation between those two types of approaches helped in the formulation of a better decision by Bloomberg.

Government Model: Explains past irrational decision with regard the sugar industry. Several attempts and studies showing the effect of sugar foods on one’s health have gone ignored. Public relation tactics by government blaming it on fatty foods and cholesterol as the leading cause health rated disease" We've heard these claims of pending apocalypse before when we proposed bold public health initiatives, and they have been proven false," Samantha Levine (Colvin , 2012 para. 11). Past administrations failure to legislate laws to put a restriction on the sugar industry 

Rational Choice Theory: That people makes a choice that maximizes profits while keeping cost at minimum. “Policy would restrict consumers’ freedom to buy beverages as they see fit” (Colvin, 2012, para. 9).” Consumers are able to make the right choices if given the correct information. It not a political problem but a health problem.  

Methodology: Primary Sources

Responding to this situation required an overview of the situation that begins with what has already been noted about the situation. An extensive methodology was therefore carried out so as to determine the level of Obesity in New York. Primary sources were therefore used to get direct evidence with regards to the Obesity situation in New York. Primary source is defined as a way through which first hand testimony is required and in some cases, direct evidence on the topic that is under investigation. The primary sources are created by people who have encountered the situation and been part of it and it is their own experience about the situation that influences the outcome of the decision. The situation of Obesity in New York is not new and the evidence by Black (2008: 124) states that the problem has been in existence for quite a while hence the need for more research.

  • News Paper Articles (New York Times & Wall Street Journal)

The research relied on news paper article, websites and government documents as the primary source of data for the research. The Wall Street Journal and New York times are some of the rich sources of newspaper articles that were used to collect data on Obesity in New York. The first hand experience of the newspaper information, which were collected with experienced journalists indicated the real situation about the disease and highlighted some of the measures being undertaken by various health institutions. For instance, Saul Howard while writing in the Wall Street Journal on September 13, 2012 points out that the Big-soda ban in New York was considered as a step towards fighting Obesity. The times topic contained in the New York Times included different articles that reflected the Cities efforts on the road towards slimming down as well as diet plan with hormone fans and skeptics and which were all reflective of the Diabetic situation.

  • Websites for Data Collection

The Department of Health which contains information for a healthy New York is one of the Websites from where adequate information was collected. It included the statistics of Obesity and how it impacts on the situation. The website contained data on relevant information as well as the recent collection on research that has already been carried out.

  • Government Documents

Data was collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  where information highlighting the State nutrition, physical activity as well as the profile on Obesity was collected.

  • Original Documents

Some of the original documents used to collect data included diaries, e-mails, news footage, official records and autobiographies.

Summary and Findings

The increasing rate of Obesity in New York has raised serious health concerns that require immediate response from the major stakeholders. The situation prompted the Mayor, Bloomberg to initiate a rational approach where he supported the restriction of all sugary drinks as one of the measures towards reducing the rate of obesity in New York (Saul, 2012). It is worth noting that even though many have termed the strategy as in effective, it was vital in reducing the increasing cases while at the same time ensuring that people in the state remain healthy and live longer. Many people especially in the United States are adamant and lack knowledge on the appropriate foods that they need to consume in order to remain healthy. The rational approach that was applied by Bloomberg was an indication that people get enlightened through such initiatives. The restriction of sugary drinks illustrate that people consume more sugars without knowing that it can be harmful to their health (Smith, 1993).

As noted above, Bloomberg came under various challenges when this concept was applied as he had to contend with some well established organizations and which provide the drinks having to oppose this restriction. The unwillingness to cooperate with the new law serves to act as an obstacle towards effective realization of an obesity free environment. The laws were directed towards reducing the content of sugar in various foods such as high content of calorie and sugar levels. This was evident when the Mayor encouraged organizations offering food stuff to ensure that their menus reflect the requirements of low sugar content and calorie levels. Those who were opposed to such laws were able to file law suits which seemed to derail the objective of the Mayor (Department of Health, 2012). It is worth noting that such restrictions can in the long run affect businesses as their main aim is usually on gaining profit through sales. Therefore, businesses can be noted to have contributed a great deal of challenge towards successful implementation of the plan.

The approach of obesity analysis in New York was also approached through the incremental model where the State was to follow a step by step approach where manufacturing institutions had to observe nutritional health concern in their various products. This is true from the event that the law begun by posting calorie counts on all the menus that were being sold. However, the law did not involve convenience and grocery stores. It is important to acknowledge that the incremental model of posting a certain amount of sugar or calorie level on products was termed as a learning culture where consumers begun familiarizing themselves with the maximum content that is needed in order to remain healthy. This was later followed by restrictions being observed in the content of sugar and the drinks that had high sugar content were burned from circulation. However, the Mayor had tried to implement food restrictions earlier and this was not the first and hence he was quite experienced in such approaches.

The mixed scanning approach on the other hand involved an approach where there were restrictions on the use of substances which could have serious repercussion on the health of people. In order to arrive at an effective decision on how to respond to the situation, Bloomberg employed both fundamental decision and incremental approach. This was widely seen as the contributing factor of his success. The other aspect that characterizes the response was through government model where the research acknowledges that absence of restrictive measures and education is the major contributing factor obesity cases. People continue to be ignorant about the food they consume not knowing that they can have serious repercussion.

Obesity is a label used to describe persons who are considered to be having extra weight than ideal. In New York City, data on obesity suggests that  from the year 2000 to 2010,  weight distribution in adult population  changed  with the percentage of those considered healthy decreasing while obese people increasing.  Obesity prevalence advanced to 40% on 17.7% witnessed in the year 2000.  The increase in the number of obese people affected virtually all sections of the community men, children. Women, educated, the uneducated and younger adults as well (Department of Health, 2012).  This trend caused a lot of anxiety among public officials in New York City. Consequently, the city public administrators have invariably deliberated on proposals that can help in the reduction of obesity cases in New York.

One of the measures adopted in the city with the view of controlling obesity in New York concerned the decision of mayor Bloomberg to ban the sales of large sugary drinks in New York City. While the decision was aimed at curbing the rising levels of obesity cases, it also elicited diverse reactions among the people and other public figures in New York. In other words, some people voiced the opinion that the decision was unfair. Against this grounding, this paper analyses the decision process of Bloomberg to adopt the ban on the sales of large sugary drinks in New York. The paper utilizes the government model and politics model as described   by Denhardt, R. B., Denhardt, J. V., & Aristigueta, M. P. (2002), Managing human behavior in public &non profit organizations.  The analysis also uses the rationalist approach, Mixed scanning approach and the Incrementalist approach in analyzing the decision.  Finally the paper makes conclusions and findings in relation to the decision of the mayor.


In conclusion, the state of Obesity in New York reflects the need for adapting an approach that takes into account the changing dynamic of leadership. As noted by Bloomberg, the increasing cases of Obesity in New York can be described as the failing role of leadership and unwilling members of the public to participate in effective decision making. It can be noted from the situation above that when leadership introduces new changes, it is likely that cases of Obesity will be reduced. On the other hand, the citizens need to integrate ideals that have been initiated by its leadership such as a transformational approach. From the analysis, it can be noted that Mayor Bloomberg selected a process that includes the desirable effects in the long term. As a public administrator, the mixed scanning approach allows for the evaluation of diverse solutions based on their perceived benefits.  This approach influenced the decision of the mayor as the decision affected all members of New York City.  On the government side, the ban has considerable benefits in the long term hence its adoption. While it is patent that the ban would generate opposition, the mayor chose the beneficial decision to all parties. As an astute public administrator, the decision considered should not favor one section and neglect the other stakeholders. This was further enhanced by the mixed scanning approach.  

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