New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not been shy about his concern for the citizens of his city facing serious health risks due to obesity. The New York Times reported earlier this week that the mayor’s proposed soda ban would apply to large sodas, soft drinks and other sugary drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts.
Taking a roll-up-the-sleeves attitude, Bloomberg said the move is something he thinks the public wants him to do. The national dialogue about obesity has escalated since First Lady Michelle Obama made eating healthier one of her top priorities, but the nation still struggles with how to actually address it. A recent report suggests that more than 40 percent of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030, an unacceptable number for Bloomberg as more than half of the city’s population is already clinically obese. The proposed ban must be approved by the city’s Board of Health, which is expected as it is made up of members appointed by Bloomberg himself.
The ban would limit cup sizes for fountain drinks to no larger than 16 ounces, which is larger than many of the ‘single-serve’ soda bottles sold in convenience stores, typically 20 ounces. The ban would not include items sold in grocery stores and supermarkets.
Bloomberg’s administration was criticized earlier this year for provocative ads focused on the increase in portion sizes at fast-food restaurants in the last 50 years, including the quadrupling of soft drink servings from 7 ounces in the 1960s to more than 30 ounces today. The ads were coupled with graphic images of overweight individuals and victims of Type II diabetes-related amputations.
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