AirTalk for May 31, 2012

Bloomberg goes Taliban on large sodas

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing an initiative that would prohibit New York City's 1.7 million food stamp recipients from using the stamps, a subsidy for poor residents, to buy soda or other sugary drinks. Bloomberg has stressed that obesity among the poor has reached critical levels. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is getting tough on sugar crime. Yesterday, he announced a first-in-the-nation plan to ban the sale of large-size sodas and other sweetened beverages. Anything bigger than 16 ounces will be off-limits at restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas and more.

It's the latest policy fix in New York's aggressive effort to combat America's growing weight pandemic. "Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, "Oh, this is terrible," Bloomberg told The New York Times. He continued, "New York City is not about wringing your hands; it's about doing something. I think that's what the public wants the mayor to do." A spokesman for the soda industry says Bloomberg's tactic won't work. "The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates," Stefan Friedman wrote in a statement from the New York City Beverage Association.

However, numerous studies have shown that portion size affects how much we eat. The Washington Post cites an experiment on a group of Philadelphia moviegoers. They were given two-week old popcorn in either a medium or large bucket. Even though the popcorn was stale and kind of gross, those with the large bucket ate 34 percent more popcorn.

How much soda and other sweet drinks do you consume? Do you think New York's plan will work? Would you want to see your city follow their lead?


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