Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City announced plans to ban sodas and other sweetened drinks larger than 16 oz from restaurants and delis, sporting events and movie theaters. His plan addresses what the public has been saying for years in the National Poll on Children’s Health: childhood obesity is the leading concern of the public when it comes to kid’s health.
New York is already out front of most other U.S. cities on anti-obesity public health measures, including efforts in the last decade to require calorie count labels at restaurants and prohibit trans fats from oils in restaurant kitchens. Such moves drew strong support and opposition in the media. They have not been widely adopted by other communities; nor have they turned the tide in the U.S. obesity epidemic among children or adults.
Meanwhile the public says, year after year, that they are more concerned about childhood obesity than about any other child health problem. What is a mayor to do? Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to limit soft drink sizes looks like his attempt to respond to vocal public concerns. Whether his proposal will ultimately be enacted – or more to the point, be effective in reducing obesity – remains to be seen.
Take our Quick Poll to let us know whether you would support the Mayor’s ban on large soda drinks in your community.