In an effort to tackle obesity in New York, the Bloomberg administration proposed to ban sale of large sugary sodas in movie-theaters, restaurants and stadiums, according to media reports.
"Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, 'Oh, this is terrible'," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, reports New York Times.
Previous studies had said that obesity accounts for almost 21% of the US health care costs.
"New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do," he said, reports New York Times.
"The New York City health department’s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top. It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front," said New York City Beverage Association spokesman, Stefan Friedman, reports New York Times.
Obesity is growing with an alarming rate of more than 30% in America. Men and women across all ages and ethnicities are prone to obesity but non-Hispanic black (44.1%) and Mexican- American men (39.3), especially those with higher income, are more likely to be obese.
"The people of New York City are much smarter than the New York City Health Department believes. They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase. We hope New Yorkers loudly voice their disapproval about this arbitrary mandate." Kirsten Witt Webb, a Coca-Cola Co. (KO) spokeswoman, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg.
The proposal has started a heated debate on the internet. Some people have supported the ban whereas others have called it a totalitarian concept. The critics of the ban believe that people aren't going to stop drinking sodas and may just as well opt for refill or buy two mediums instead of one large.
An editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that a 12-oz can of soda has about 50 grams of sugar. If a person were drinking a can of soda every day for a year he/she would gain about 15-lb of weight(considering that no other substitution in the diet was made).
Serving size or portion size of foods has been discussed in many studies. Lisa R. Young and colleagues in 2002 reported that many products in the market are sold at size larger than they were a few years back and larger than federal standard portion size. Another study by Tanja Kral and colleagues says that larger portion sizes lead to overconsumption of food.
A related study says that eating larger portions of any food for even two consecutive days increases energy intake.
"You can still be a beast. We're not keeping you from eating fattening foods or drinking 32-ounce bottles of full-sugar drinks .We are just telling you that this is detrimental to your health and making you understand that by portion size," said Mayor Bloomberg reports Reuters.
According to Reuters, the proposal to limit the portion size in NY will be submitted to the New York City Board of Health on June 12.