As reported earlier, the city’s Board of Health – the same one set to regulate bris milah – has approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban super-sized sugary drinks.
The plan was approved in a vote Thursday with eight in favor and one abstention.
“This is the single biggest step any city, I think, has ever taken to curb obesity, but certainly not the last step that lots of cities are going to take,” Bloomberg said at a news conference after the vote. “We believe that it will help save lives.”
Dr. Sixto R. Caro, who practices internal medicine in Brooklyn and Manhattan, was the one board member who abstained from voting.
“I am still skeptical,” Caro said. “This is not comprehensive enough.”
The new regulation puts a 16-ounce limit on sugary drinks sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts and applies to both bottled and fountain drinks.
It does not include grocery or convenience stores that don’t serve prepared food and would not apply to diet soda, other calorie-free drinks or anything that has at least 50 percent milk or milk substitute.
“This has nothing to do with banning your ability to buy as many sugary drinks as you want, simply the size of the cup that can be used, it cannot be greater than 16 ounces under this regulation,” Bloomberg explained.
The mayor has said the ban is a way to fight obesity in New York City. He said health-related problems stemming from obesity cost the city about $4 billion a year.
Following Thursday’s vote, President and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center Dr. Steven Safyer said the Board of the Health “did the right thing for New York” by approving the ban.
“For the past several years, I’ve seen the number of children and adults struggling with obesity skyrocket, putting them at early risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” Safyer said in a statement. “Sugary beverages play a major role in this cycle and are so heavily marketed to children, they jeopardize the next generation of New Yorkers. This policy is a great step in the battle to turn this health crisis around.”
Kenneth Davis, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center, called the ban “a major step in the right direction.”
“Obesity contributes to a number of other serious health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. In addition, 20 percent of the patients hospitalized at Mount Sinai are diabetic, more than double the national percentage,” Davis said in a statement.
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