There’s no question that America has been dealing with obesity for many years. The number of people with obesity continues to increase each year and New York City is looking to slow down that number and encourage its residents to choose healthier options. Over the past decade, NYC has outlawed smoking in bars and offices, banned trans fats, and forced fast-food restaurants to list calorie counts on their menus. The next item on their quest to promote good health involving sugary beverages.
NYC is the first in the nation to pass a rule barring restaurants, cafeterias, and concession stands from selling sodas and other calorie-rich beverages in containers larger than 16 ounces. The regulations apply to any establishment with a food service license including delis, theatres, Yankees Stadium, and pizzerias. No other city in the United States has tried to fight obesity by restricting portion sizes but city officials said they were willing to take dramatic action to encourage a skeptic public on the risk of consuming empty-calorie foods. Many have already rallied against the ban, stating that it interferes with personal liberty. In a New York Times poll last month, approximately six in ten New Yorkers opposed the rule.
Public health experts and the restaurant/soft-drink industry will be watching closely to see whether the new restrictions on supersized colas will change the way New York City residents eat and drink. Mayor Bloomberg stated that young children are being diagnosed with a type of diabetes more commonly found in overweight adults and high carlorie soft drinks are one of the reasons for that. Whether New Yorkers will listen or not, they will still be able to purchase 20 oz. drinks at a local convenient store or supermarket. There are exceptions to rules involving drinks made with a significant amount of milk or unsweetened fruit juices. Restaurants with self-serve soda fountains will be prohibited from giving out cups larger than 16 ounces, even for diet sodas, but people will still be allowed refills.
The rule is planned to take effect in March. NYC Board of Health is hoping that by being the first to pass such a rule, other states would get the motivation to do the same. This is America’s step towards healthier communities.