Do the data support Mayor Bloomberg’s public health and safety legacy?

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February 6, 2013 By Steven E. Greer, MD

More than reform of the public school system or racial harmony, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy will undoubtedly be his innovative and controversial measures to deal with public health and safety issues. His agendas have generated strong criticism. Is he a misguided fascists who has taken away personal liberties, or will he go down in history as a pioneer and be emulated by other major cities? We have compiled a list of the most relevant stories from our archives that study the data on the issues.

New York City has the toughest mandatory sentencing laws of any large city for anyone carrying an illegal gun. Mayor Bloomberg was also the most vocal leader for gun control after the Newtown massacre of first graders. Is he correct?

Johns Hopkins survey of public views on gun policies

Reliable gun violence statistics

ABC’s This Week discusses the Connecticut school massacre

The Connecticut shooter was influenced by violent video games

Mayor Bloomberg has been criticized the most for his recent public health crusade against obesity and his ban of sugary drinks larger than 16-ounces. Critics say that he is creating a “nanny state” and do not understand why soft drinks are the target rather than fast food. What do the medical experts say?

The medical rationale for the Mayor Bloomberg 16-oz sugary drink size limit in New York

High fructose consumption and fatty liver disease

60 Minutes: Is Sugar Toxic?

Robert Lustig, MD: Sugar (fructose) is a poison

Mayor Bloomberg has also tackled the obesity epidemic by banning trans-fats in restaurants and making restaurant chains post calories of menu items. Again, few patrons or special interest lobbyist criticize either of those moves now, and other cities have copied the laws. Trans-fats, along with fructose, ethanol, and certain amino acids, are the four types of food that are processed solely by the liver and lead to fatty liver disease the “bad” type of fat deposition around the inner organs.

New York City, under Mayor Bloomberg, was the first to ban smoking in bars and similar areas in 2002 after banning smoking in restaurants in 1995. Few restaurant workers or bar patrons complain about that now, and many other cities have followed suit. Mayor Bloomberg seems to have been a pioneer on that front.

What do you think about these issues? Please post your comments below.

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