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Press Release

Press Release # 043-13
Monday, November 25, 2013

MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Jean Weinberg/Veronica Lewin:

Health Department Launches New Ad Campaign Highlighting the Negative Health Impacts of Excessive Sugary Drink Consumption

New data report shows that over 50% of adult New Yorkers with diabetes have uncontrolled blood sugar levels

November 25, 2013 – The Health Department today unveiled a new anti-obesity campaign educating New Yorkers on the potential health risks, for both children and adults, of consuming too many sugary drinks. The ads highlight how sugary drinks can bring on obesity and diabetes, both of which can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke. Accompanying these ads is a new Health Department Epi Data Brief on diabetes and its complications. According to the new report, in 2011, there were over 20,000 hospitalizations for diabetes and nearly 5,500 adults on dialysis due to diabetes, a 65% increase in the number of adults on dialysis due to diabetes since 2000.

The new ads are an expansion of the Health Department’s “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign and its continued efforts to combat the obesity epidemic. The ads warn New Yorkers of the potential harmful consequences of excessive sugary drink consumption. These risks are not just for adults. Obese children also face both immediate and long-term health effects, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two risk factors for heart disease. The new ads also encourage New Yorkers to take a “sip in the right direction” and replace sugary drinks with water, seltzer, unsweetened teas, fat-free milk and fresh fruit. The ads will run on TV for the next three weeks, and in subway cars through January.

“Obesity is an epidemic in the United States and in New York City and it has, in turn, fueled the diabetes epidemic,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner. “Over 50% of adults with diabetes who receive medical care have high blood sugar levels, increasing their risk for serious complications such as amputation, kidney failure and blindness. Maintaining a healthy diet is one critical component to controlling blood sugar levels and possibly preventing these complications.”

Diabetes can lead to a number of health complications because of the impact that high blood sugar and co-existing conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol have on the body. Diabetes is a leading cause of lower extremity amputations, kidney failure and new cases of blindness. People with diabetes are at least twice as likely to die of heart disease than people without diabetes.

Diabetes is twice as common among obese adult New Yorkers and conditions of obesity and diabetes disproportionately affect low-income communities. Neighborhoods with the highest rate of hospitalizations with diabetes as a principal diagnosis among adults include the South Bronx neighborhoods of Crotona-Tremont, High Bridge Morrisania and Hunts Point-Mott Haven and East Harlem. These rates are approximately eight times those of the neighborhoods with the lowest rates of diabetes of hospitalizations with diabetes as a principal diagnosis. 

The full text of the report (PDF).

New Yorkers can call 311 to get a Healthy Eating packet with more information and tips on how to cut back on sugary beverages.

For additional information, search for “Sugary Drinks” on

Visit Eating Healthy NYC on Facebook, or search #PouringOnThePounds on Twitter for tips and news.