Adding some clout to NYC’s highly controversial soda ban, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, along with Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley, released new data showing the correlation between sugary drink consumption and obesity today. The study was conducted by the New York City Community Health Survey, which surveyed 9,000 adults over the age of 18 across the city. The findings showed that in each of the five boroughs, neighborhoods that consumed a higher rate of sugary drinks also had higher rates of obesity.
The city-wide soda ban is set to kick in March 12th with establishments requiring complete compliance within 30 days. According to the new survey, nine of the top 10 neighborhoods with the highest obesity rates city-wide were also the highest in sugary drink consumption. “This new data is the latest evidence that sugary drinks are helping to drive the obesity epidemic, which falls hardest on low-income communities,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Obesity is killing more than 5,000 New Yorkers each year and demands bold steps to fight this crisis; this week New York City will do precisely that.”
New York City is the first in the country to limit the size of sugary beverages sold in food-based establishments to 16 ounces — a prohibition that hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy and protest. The Wall Street Journal spoke with Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, who stated that more than 250,000 New Yorkers and 2,100 business owners have signed a petition against the ban because it is “arbitrary and restricts the choices of individuals”.
The mayor and his supporters disagree. “As a health epidemic, obesity is preventable and reducing the amount of sugary beverages people consume is a key way to turn this tide,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “New York’s regulation has already put a conversation about obesity and sugary beverages on the map and we are confident that it will have an even greater impact on health once it goes into effect this week.”