City War Against Super-Sized Drinks Enlists Diet Groups

By Conor Febos

Mayor Bloomberg amped up his campaign against super-sized, sugary drinks Tuesday as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and other diet groups backed his plan to limit the sizes of sugary drinks in the fight against obesity.

“The obesity issue is more urgent than ever, with 60 percent of New York City adults dealing with this major health concern,” Bloomberg said at a news conference in Flushing Meadow Park. “The time is now to reintroduce a portion-control system.”

The proposal faced a Sept. 13th vote by the New York City Board of Health, whose members, appointed by Bloomberg, were expected to pass the measure.

“There has been much discussion about obesity, but little action, which is why we at Weight Watchers support what this administration is doing to improve the health of New Yorkers,” said Weight Watchers official David Burwick . “We want to help people focus on making behavioral changes to help foster better eating habits.”

The plan, however, faced opposition from soft drink trade groups and citizens who feared the encroachment on personal liberties by the so-called “nanny state.” A New York Times poll last month showed that six out of 10 New Yorkers opposed the plan.

The proposal will be most felt in restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, air jordan 13 femmes food carts and delis that sell sodas and other sugary drinks in servings that exceed 16 ounces. “In a city where large sizes of high-calorie snack foods and beverages at your fingertips around the clock, it is no wonder why many New Yorkers struggle to maintain a healthy weight,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “Reducing sugary drinks is the simplest dietary change that people can make to lose weight or avoid gaining weight.”

Bloomberg stressed that his administration’s proposal will not limit number a customer can buy at food outlets, but just the sizes. “No one is prohibiting you from doing anything – you can make your own decisions,” said Bloomberg. “But we feel that by limiting how much people might consume in one purchase, we effectively lessen their calorie intake for the day.”

The rule would not have an effect on lower-calorie drinks including water or diet soda, and would not apply to beverages that are 70 percent juice or more than half milk.

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