Should DC Follow NYC and Ban Oversize Sugary Drinks?

New York City has proposed to prohibit sales of large sodas to curb obesity.

By: Melissa Romero

In efforts to combat obesity, New York City has become the first city in the nation to propose a ban on large sodas and sugary drinks, which makes us wonder: Should DC say goodbye to bucket-like fountain sodas, too?

The NYC proposal would impose a 16-ounce limit on sales of bottled and fountain sodas and sugary drinks in restaurants, movie theaters, street carts, and sports venues. It would not include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores, diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks, or alcoholic beverages, according to the Associated Press.

"We oppose it," says Chris Gindlesperger, a spokesperson for the American Beverage Association. "It restricts choice. It's overzealous proposals like this one that really distract from the bigger, complex issue of obesity." 

It’s not the first ambitious effort Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made to combat obesity. In 2007, the city began phasing out artificial trans fat in all city restaurants. A year later the city ordered that calorie counts be included on all menus. In 2010, the city’s health department introduced a voluntary program that encourages restaurants to cut the amount of sodium in their food by 20 percent before 2015.

DC, where 25.1 percent of women and 18.9 percent of men are obese, has implemented less strict moves to combat obesity, although in May 2010 the council approved a controversial 6 percent sales tax on sweetened soft drinks, including sodas and sports and energy drinks. All money is used to fund an initiative that mandates physical education programs and provides food to students.

Mayor Vincent Gray’s administration was not available for comment.

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