Obesity continues to be one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.
Obesity kills thousands of New Yorkers a year and costs $4 billion a year in health care costs. More than half of New York City adults (58%) are overweight or obese and nearly 40% of New York City’s public school students in grades K-8 are overweight or obese.
That is why The NYC Department of Health is continuing its efforts to combat this epidemic by seeking to prohibit the sale of sugary drinks in containers of more than 16 fluid ounces at restaurants and food carts.
The increase in sugary drink consumption is the largest single cause of the rise in calories in the American diet in the last 40 years. Many studies show consumption of these beverages is linked to weight gain and obesity, and more recently, diabetes and heart disease.
Other studies show that people given larger portions simply consume more without consideration of the additional calories. Despite this information, portion sizes of sugary drinks continued to balloon drastically over the last 50 years, from 12 ounces to 32 ounces in many fast food establishments not as a result of consumer demand, but because of corporate decisions.
Together, these facts strongly suggest that if people are served smaller portion sizes of sugary drinks, they will consume less, gain less weight and be healthier — and we may just start to reverse the catastrophic epidemic of obesity.
The action on sugary drinks builds on Mayor Bloomberg's aggressive quality of life enhancing public health initiatives, such as banning smoking in public places and calorie postings at chain restaurant locations. These bold initiatives have improved life expectancy in New York City by nearly three years since 2000, outpacing the increase in the nation as a whole by 1.4 years.
Learn more about NYC's efforts to combat obesity and join our email list or follow @MikeBloomberg on Twitter to stay up to date on this important public health issue.