New York leads the fight in obesity by becoming the first state in the country to ban the sale of sugary drinks over 16 ounces. (The ban does not include the sale of diet soda which contains no sugar).
The mayoral-appointed city health board passed the ban 8-1. Only grocery and convenience stores are exempt from the ban. Anyone who violates the new law (which goes into effect March 2013) will be fined $200.
Not everyone is happy about the outcome of the vote, including business owner and chairwoman of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, Liz Berman.
Counters Berman, “It’s sad that the board wants to limit our choices. We are smart enough to make our own decisions about what to eat and drink.”
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley disagrees with Berman’s stance. “This is a historic step to address a major health problem of our time,” Farley said following the historic vote.
Farley hopes other states and even other countries will follow NYC’s lead and join the ban. “New Yorkers could collectively prevent 2.3 million pounds gained per year. This would slow the obesity epidemic and prevent much needless illness.”
The obesity epidemic is growing worse: About one-third of Americans are obese, with obesity-related diseases, like hypertension, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes rising. In fact, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. (OECD) estimates that in the next eight years, more than two out of three people will be overweight or obese in developed countries.