New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks passed the New York City Board of Health's approval process yesterday, making it the first city in the nation to enact such a ban.
The measure will ban the sale of any sweetened drinks in sizes larger than 16 ounces throughout the city of New York. Most plastic "single-serve" soda bottles are 20 ounces. Venues that are reviewed by the health department including fast food restaurants, stadiums and movie theaters would be forced to comply, but bodegas and convenience stores would be exempt from the rule, as would supermarkets selling 2-liter sized bottles.
A contentious issue since Bloomberg's announcement of the proposal earlier this year, the soft-drink industry has vowed to oppose the decision with legal action in hopes to prevent the ban from taking effect in six months.
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Michael Grynbaum of the New York Times wrote in yesterday's paper that the Mayor's controversial plan is a "marquee initiative of the Bloomberg administration, which is known for introducing ambitious – and, some say, overreaching – public health policies, including a ban on smoking in bars and the posting of calorie counts on chain restaurant menus."
Bloomberg has taken radical approaches in the city's fight against obesity. More than half of the city's adult population is either overweight or clinically obese, according to the city's health department. A recent billboard campaign showed disturbing images of amputees who lost limbs to advanced type 2 diabetes—a disease connected to excessive sugar consumption. The ads also highlighted the exponential increase in serving sizes on certain restaurant items including French fries and sodas.
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Image: André Banyai