In one more move on the part of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to improve the health of his constituents, the mayor is proposing a ban on the sale of over-sized, sugary drinks in practically every eatery in the city.
This initiative is just one more in a list of several healthful habits the mayor has imposed on New Yorkers including banning smoking in restaurants and parks; exiling trans fats from restaurants; and requiring fast food chains to list calorie content on their menus.
The city’s latest proposed ban will limit the availability of sugary drinks to under 16 ounces at practically all New York restaurants, movie theaters and street vendors. The city Health Department says it is part of an overall plan to combat the rising rate of obesity in the country, and especially in New York.
If the law is passed it will be the first of its kind in the country, and will go into effect in March 2013.
The ban will not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices and dairy-based drinks including beverages like milkshakes. Alcohol is not included in the ban, and purchases made in supermarkets and bodegas are also exempt.
On the other hand food establishments that receive a letter grade from the Health Department for food service will need to follow the policy.
The city’s Health Department does not need, nor is it seeking, City Council approval for the new rule, but the Board of Health will need to sign onto the ban. No one believes this step will be an obstacle to passing the law.
Not everyone is in support of the ban: the New York City Beverage Association released a statement on Wednesday decrying the latest forced behavior modification plan of the “nanny mayor.”
“There they go again. The New York City Health Department’s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top. The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates. It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity.”
Next year New Yorkers will only be allowed to order dessert if they eat all their vegetables.