Kiss your free refills goodbye
While France’s obesity rate (15.3%) may be lower than the European average (15.9%) and less than half of what it is in the United States (36.5%), they’re continuing to aggressively fight what the government sees as an escalating epidemic in the country.
On Friday, the government issued a ban on free refills of sodas or other sugary drinks in all restaurants, though it’s thought that fast-food operations are the primary culprits of this policy.
The move, while drastic, isn’t shocking given France’s history in curbing the consumption nutritionally empty foods by its citizens. In 2004, France pulled soda vending machines from its schools and has set limits on the frequency with which foods like french fries can be served to students.
While the obesity epidemic can be traced to a complex of societal factors, curbing soda consumption certainly seems to be the low-hanging fruit, considered the single biggest contributor to diabetes and obesity.
Of course, the recent move has its detractors, though most of them actually seem to be coming from the United States, if an informal Twitter sampling holds true:
The United States has undertaken similar tactics in years past with mixed results. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg approved a ban on selling sodas over a certain size in his city, but the act was reversed in court in 2013. However, a tax on soft drinks was enacted in Philadelphia this year and remains in effect despite critics saying such measures infringe on personal freedoms to eat what one chooses.