Bloomberg: Forcing people to exercise is going too far

Holly Bailey

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hasn’t been shy in championing government regulations he says will improve the health of city residents. These include a ban on smoking in public to limits on the sales of sugary drinks set to go into effect next week.

But Bloomberg apparently has his limits. During his weekly radio show on Friday, a caller asked the mayor if he would go so far as to enact mandatory gym memberships or other forms of exercise for New Yorkers. While he said the government could “force” people to do some things, Bloomberg admitted requiring people to exercise would “probably” be taking it too far.

“You have to be practical about what legally you can do and what people will do,” Bloomberg said, according to Politicker. “The nice thing about the soda thing is it’s really just a suggestion. So, if you want to buy 32 ounces, you just have to carry it back to your seat in two cups. And maybe that would convince you to only take one, but if you want two you can do it. I think government’s job … is to give you advice, not to force you to do things.”

He added, “The only thing the government can do practically—and I think should do—is education. Exercise is great for you, but how do you convince people to do it? And should you force them to do it? Probably not.”