When New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg first a ban on selling sodas and other sweetened drinks larger than 16oz in public places (think restaurants, movie theaters, and the like), in an effort to curb current obesity problems facing both the city and the country, it was certainly met with opposition. While many have lent their voices to debates over the merits or drawbacks of the ban, the New York City Board of Health has now spoken – and it’s siding with Bloomberg. Today the Board of Health announced that it has officially approved the soda ban.
As the New York Times reports, this is the first such ban ever to be passed in the United States, and Mayor Bloomberg took to Twitter to celebrate:
His Tweet links to a platform page on his website that is dedicated to the issue of a growing obesity problem. According to Bloomberg, 58 percent of adults in NYC and 40 percent of the city’s K-8 schoolchildren are classified as overweight or obese – and that obesity accounts for $4 billion in health care costs annually. The page also features infographics with highly salient points worth considering, like the slow creep of portion sizes – sodas were offered in 6.5 oz bottles in the 1920s (a far cry from today’s readily available 34oz servings), and U.S. citizens on the whole tend to consume 200-300 calories every day now compared to thirty years ago. When faced with facts like that, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest returning to standards that weren’t linked to an obesity epidemic.
But that doesn’t mean the debate is over or that those opposed to the ban are done fighting – mostly industry voices, who have a financial stake in selling soda in higher quantities than 16 ounces at a time:
This is not the end,” Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an industry-financed group opposed to the soda-sales restrictions, said in an e-mail moments after the vote. “We are exploring legal options, and all other avenues available to us.”
But for now, the only opinion that matters is that of the New York City Board of Health. With their approval, the ban should take effect within the next six months.
[SOURCE: New York Times]