New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and state governor, David Paterson, are seeking to bar New Yorkers on food stamps from using the benefit on sugary dinks in a bid to decrease obesity and diabetes.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are “the largest single contributor to the obesity epidemic,” Governor David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a joint statement Tuesday.

The request was sent to the U.S. department of Agriculture who are responsible for the administration of the nations food stamp program.

In the 2009 fiscal year, approximately $135 million of the total $2.7 billion total food stamp benefits given was spent on sugary drinks.

“The use of food stamp benefits to support the purchase of sugar sweetened drinks not only contradicts the intent of this vital program, but it also subsidizes a serious public health epidemic,” Paterson said in the statement. “There is clear evidence that low-income individuals have higher rates of obesity and are more at risk of becoming obese than other groups.”

An estimated 1.7 million New Yorkers receive food stamps.

Cigarettes and alcohol are both on the list of items disallowed as food stamp purchases.