Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
A New York State Supreme Court judge has issued a decision striking down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks. In a move that is sure to get families talking about the relationship between sugary beverages and childhood obesity–and the government’s role in regulating both–State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling said that the rule is invalid because it isn’t applied consistently. More from The Associated Press:
‘‘The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule,’’ Tingling wrote in a victory for the beverage industry, restaurants and other business groups that called the rule unfair and wrong-headed.
In addition, the judge said the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health intruded on City Council’s authority when it imposed the rule.
The city vowed to appeal the decision, issued by New York state’s trial-level court.
‘‘We believe the judge is totally in error in how he interpreted the law, and we are confident we will win on appeal,’’ Bloomberg said. He added: ‘‘One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is not a joke. Five thousand people die of obesity every day in America.’’
For now, though, the ruling it means the ax won’t fall Tuesday on supersized sodas, sweetened teas and other high-sugar beverages in restaurants, movie theaters, corner delis and sports arenas.
‘‘The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban,’’ the American Beverage Association and other opponents said, adding that the organization is open to other ‘‘solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact.’’
The first of its kind in the country, the restriction has sparked reaction from city streets to late-night talk shows, celebrated by some as a bold attempt to improve people’s health and derided by others as another ‘‘nanny state’’ law from Bloomberg during his 11 years in office.
Image: Sodas, via Shutterstock
Monday, October 15th, 2012
A new regulation in New York City that would limit the size of soft drinks to 16 ounces or fewer is the subject of a lawsuit filed late last week by a restaurant group and members of the soda industry. The New York Times reports:
“Legal action was widely anticipated from the soft-drink industry, which led an aggressive campaign this summer portraying [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg’s plan as an affront to consumer freedom and has frequently opposed local regulations of its products.
The 61-page filing offers a detailed rebuttal to Mr. Bloomberg, arguing the soda restrictions are a form of de facto legislation, enacted by “executive fiat,” which should have been considered by the City Council. The plaintiffs say the rules represent “a dramatic departure” from the traditional role of the health department, and they are asking a judge to reject the size limits before they are put into effect.
The mayor’s chief spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, rejected those arguments on Friday, calling the lawsuit “baseless.” City health officials have argued that the plan can help curb runaway obesity rates in the city, where more than half of adults are overweight or obese.
“The Board of Health absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health, and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year — and impacting the lives of thousands more — unquestionably falls under its purview,” Mr. La Vorgna wrote in a statement.”
Image: Soda bottles, via Shutterstock
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
A new study suggests that pregnant women who drink sweet sodas regularly may be more likely to deliver their babies too early, Reuters reports.
Researchers studied more than 60,000 pregnant women in Norway and found that those who drank one sugar-sweetened soda a day were up to 25 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who avoided sugary drinks. And pregnant women who drank artificially sweetened sodas daily were 11 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who skipped sweet drinks. But it’s not clear if sodas themselves deserve the blame.
[T]he new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cannot prove that sugary drinks cause preterm births. Lifestyle and other factors that go along with high sugar consumption may also play a role. Nutrition, maternal age, smoking, alcohol, obesity, chronic health problems like diabetes, and genetic conditions, have all been implicated in preterm birth.
The authors note in their report that women who drank the most sweetened drinks were also more likely to smoke, eat more calories, and have a higher body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight relative to height – than those who drank fewer sugary drinks.
The researchers said they aren’t ready to recommend that pregnant women give up all sweetened soft drinks, but they do recommend that moms-to-be watch their sugar intake and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Image: Soft drink via Shutterstock.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Large sodas and other sugary beverages will no longer be allowed in New York City if a new proposal gains approval by the Board of Health. The Associated Press reports:
The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.
The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he ‘‘thinks it’s what the public wants the mayor to do.’’
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sodas and sugary juices are two of the six biggest culprits when it comes to the empty calories that are causing the American obesity epidemic.
Image: Large soft drink, via Shutterstock.