The measure, which could face legal challenges from the soft drinks industry, takes effect in six months. According to official statistics, some 6,000 people in New York die each year from obesity-linked problems. One in eight adult New Yorkers has diabetes, which can be aggravated by sugar consumption.
Although the measure is very far from being a ban on the over-indulgence of sugary drinks, the disappearance of mega-sized cups in many establishments will at least make people more aware of what they’re consuming, Bloomberg says.
“New Yorkers will soon consume fewer junk calories and eventually begin turning the tide of the obesity epidemic that is destroying the health of far too many of our citizens,” he said.
Boosting the mayor, the newly-built basketball stadium for the Brooklyn Nets announced it will immediately adopt the rules, well head of the March 12 deadline.
The measure generated a stormy debate, including 38,000 comments written to the Board of Health. Polls showed a majority of people opposed the ban.
New Yorkers for Beverage Choices suggested that Bloomberg is out of control. “If this now, what’s next?” the group asked on its website.
“NYers want to be heard, not ignored,” the organization Tweeted. “Today’s #NYC Board of Health vote does NOT reflect that.”
Other skeptics say that the deepening US obesity epidemic can be linked as much, or more, to lack of exercise or eating too much junk food, like French fries, as to soda drinks.
Writing in the Daily News on Thursday, Health Commissioner Farley said the limit on portions at restaurants wasn’t a cure-all, but that doing nothing was not an option.
“This epidemic is not a communicable disease like influenza, but it is more dangerous and more deadly. Obesity causes diseases such as diabetes and heart attacks. Those diseases kill.”