Bloomberg Lays Out Case Against 'Sugary Drinks'

65% of American adults oppose size-based ban

NEW YORK -- A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 65% of American adults oppose a law that would ban the sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 ounces; 24% favor a law like the one New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed as a way to fight obesity; 11% are undecided about it.

Bloomberg's Task Force on Obesity has officially proposed initiatives, previously reported by CSP Daily News (see Related Content below), including limiting the size of "sugary drinks"--with the goal of reducing the percentage of obese adults by 10% and children by 15% over the next five years.

"In New York City nearly 60% of adults and nearly 40% of children are overweight or obese and there are real world consequences," said Bloomberg. "People's lives will be shorter, their quality of life is going to be dramatically reduced and obesity is going to start killing more people in this country than smoking. Obesity is the only major public health issue we have that is getting worse and New York City has the courage to stand up and do something about it."

Health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, "Limiting the size of sugary drinks to no more than 16 ounces at foodservice establishments will help us confront the obesity and diabetes epidemics, which now affect millions of New Yorkers. This intervention will begin to curb the thousands of empty and unnecessary calories New Yorkers consume from sugary drinks every year, and educate people about the health risks they pose."

The Mayor's Task Force on Obesity, co-chaired by Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, has launched a set of initiatives that seek, over the next five years, to reduce the percentage of New York City adults who are obese by 10% (23. 4% to 21. 1%); reduce the percentage of children (K-8th grade) who are obese by 15% (20. 7% to 17. 6%); and reduce the percentage of adult New Yorkers who consume one or more sugary drinks per day by 30% (30. 3% to 21. 2%), consume no servings of fruits and vegetables in the previous day by 30% (11. 6% to 8. 1%) and report no physical activity in the past 30 days by 15% (27. 3% to 23. 3%).

The centerpiece of the initiative is the city's proposal to limit the size of sugary drinks sold in foodservice establishments to 16 ounces or less. This would apply to restaurants, mobile food carts, delis, concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas. Sugary drinks are ubiquitous, high in calories, cheap, served in large sizes, and aggressively promoted. They provide no nutritional value and don't create a sensation of fullness, meaning people typically don't cut back on other calories when they consume extra calories through sugary drinks, the task force said.

Click here to read Bloomberg's full official press release.