FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2012
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES CITY'S GROUNDBREAKING INITIATIVE TO FIGHT OBESITY IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, September 16, 2012.
“Good morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Last Thursday, after a full, open, and spirited public debate that began last May, the City Board of Health passed our Administration’s proposal to limit the portion sizes of sugary drinks. This is the single biggest step any city has ever taken to curb obesity – and we believe it will help save lives. It will not limit anyone from choosing to drink as much of a sugary beverage as they like, but it will help us attack the leading cause of the obesity epidemic we face.
“Beginning next March 12th, many food establishments will no longer sell sugary beverages in containers larger than 16 ounces. That includes restaurants, food carts, delis, movie theater concessions, stadiums, and arenas. The new rule will not affect drinks that contain at least 50 percent milk, or fruit or vegetable juices that contain no added sugar.
“We took this step because, as a growing number of health experts have pointed out, added sugars – especially those found in sugary drinks – are one of the key drivers of the obesity epidemic in New York and across the United States. Americans get more excess calories from sodas and other sugary beverages than any other individual source. Even worse, these drinks flood our bodies with sugar without making us feel full; that’s why we’re targeting sugary drinks and not other junk foods.
“In New York, nearly 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese. For our children, the proportion is 40 percent. And the consequences are deadly serious, because obesity puts you at a greater risk of developing a host of diseases and conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, joint problems, and blindness. And the price of treating the effects of this epidemic continues to grow. Obesity costs New York over $4 billion in direct medical costs each year. Nationwide, that number is $150 billion. And when this crisis isn’t robbing New Yorkers of our good health and our financial security, it’s robbing us of our lives. Nearly 6,000 New Yorkers die each year as a result of obesity related illness.
“Everyone recognizes obesity is a major problem, and in New York City, we’re doing something about it. Our new portion size rule is part of a broader effort to ensure that New Yorkers have the information and the tools they need to live healthier lives. It builds on earlier reforms like calorie counts in restaurants – an innovation that was included in the national health reform law, and that McDonald’s just announced it will implement beginning this week. It also supports work we’re doing to provide New Yorkers with healthier food options, like partnering with neighborhood grocers to sell more fresh produce, and creating Health Bucks that New Yorkers can use at local farmers’ markets. And it supports our efforts, like Shape Up NYC, to help more New Yorkers get active through free and low-cost exercise programs at our parks.
“Obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. But if we work together, I know that overcoming obesity is a fight we can win.
Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
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