NEW YORK - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg intends to restrict sales of sugary soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces a cup in city restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas, administration officials said.
The Health Department plans to propose the ban as an amendment to the Health Code at a June 12 meeting of the Board of Health, according to Samantha Levine, a mayoral spokeswoman.
The move to ban super-sized sugared soft drinks, first reported in the New York Times Wednesday, is the latest of several anti-obesity and nutrition initiatives undertaken to combat what the administration has described as an epidemic of obesity and related illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
"Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the U.S., public health officials are wringing their hands saying, 'Oh, this is terrible," ' the Times quoted Bloomberg saying in an interview. "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."
In 2008, the city required restaurant chains to post calorie-counts of their menu items. In 2006 and 2007, the Board of Health and City Council banned artery-clogging trans-fats from restaurants and prepared foods. Last year, the federal government rejected an attempt to bar purchases of sugared drinks with food stamps. In 2003, Bloomberg blocked the beverages from vending machines in schools and city-owned buildings.
Once the proposal has been introduced, the health board will vote on it after three months of public comment, Levine said. No other authorization from the state or city would be required. Restaurants and other outlets would have six months from the date of adoption to comply or face citations, she said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael Bloomberg is founder of Bloomberg News.