Have you noticed the ever-increasing size of french fries and soda servings? An estimated 57% of adult New Yorkers suffering from obesity, and two out of every five New York City elementary school children remain overweight or obese, which has prompted the NYC Department of Health‘s (DOH) newest ad campaign. The new ads, which fall in-line with the DOH’s anti-soda ads and other public health campaigns, urge New Yorkers to be more aware of portion sizes or face devastating consequences.
With a growing number of people eating out on a regular basis, many may be surprised to find that a single meal can contain more than the recommended caloric intake for an entire day. For those who take lunch at a chain restaurant, an estimated one-third consume more than 1,000 calories — half the recommended daily intake. This is in part due to a drastic increase in serving sizes over the past 60 years. French fry portions have more than doubled from 2.4 to 5.4 ounces and beverages have increased fourfold from 7 ounces to 32 ounces.
One of the health risks of over-consumption is diabetes which the DOH’s ad campaign heavily targets. An estimated 10% of New Yorkers have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and amputations. For obese children and adolescents, it can be very difficult to overcome over-consumption habits as an adult and health consequences often manifest at a young age.
To combat this trend, one of the new posters displays three soda cups that triple in size over time. A photo in the background blatantly illustrates the health consequences of such increases- an anonymous amputee sits in the background, one leg missing with crutches by his side. Below the photograph, the text reads, “Cut your portions. Cut your risk.”
Building on the City’s efforts that require chain restaurants to publicly post calorie information, the campaign also includes a free “Healthy Eating Packet” which can be obtained by calling 311. The packet includes information regarding daily calorie needs, tips on how to cut back on sugary drinks, the importance of making physical activity a daily routine, making smart choices when eating out and how to create a healthy and balanced meal for both adults and children.
To reach the maximum number of people, the four different poster designs feature text in both English and Spanish. They are being strategically placed in over 1,000 subway cars and in other public areas. The hope is that the campaign will provide New Yorkers with the necessary information to make healthier decisions and improve public health.