By Michael Sandoval | Special to Colorado Watchdog
ASPEN, Colo. — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has taken sides in the War on Soda.
In front of an international conference in the posh city of Aspen, Hickenlooper admitted his support for the proposed measures from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that tackle the offending sugary soft drinks.
He couched his acceptance of the need for regulating the size of soda drinks with an air of reluctance and took a mocking swipe at those who believe regulating what U.S. citizens drink will turn the country into a “nanny state”:
“If you listen to that hum in the distance, sometimes you think that’s the ventilation system, but really that sucking noise is the drain on our economy from the health care system. I probably shouldn’t say that. I’m going to get in big trouble,” Hickenlooper said.
While conceding that he’s reluctant to mandate healthier behavior, Hickenlooper said he sees few other options to fight the costly obesity epidemic.
“You run the risk if you’re in elected office of saying we need to all do this and pull together and take care of ourselves. That’s allegedly one step away from the nanny state,” Hickenlooper said.
“And yet, I’m not sure what else is going to happen. Right? I don’t see any other way.“
Hickenlooper grounded his agreement with Bloomberg in terms of reducing health-care costs, which he said “are going to be enormous,” if nothing is done.
Considering the regulations, however, put a strain on “every atom of my being,” Hickenlooper said.
According to the Health Policy Solutions article, Hickenlooper was not specific about what types of measures he might endorse to downsize the consumption of the popular beverages in Colorado.
On the other side of the health equation, Hickenlooper noted that it is not just consumption that drives health concerns, but also exercise — or the lack of fun in exercise that even he finds difficult to overcome:
“How much fun is it to sit on a treadmill walking or ride a bike in a room because you’ve got too much work to do. I don’t know about you guys. Maybe you guys find that engaging. I think even jogging through a park is like going to see a dentist. For me, it’s incredibly boring. I understand how incredibly important it is. We’ve got to get that awareness to everybody, or else,” Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper’s suggested ideas for “awareness” included the promotion of bicycle commuting and additional resources for physical education.