12:47 pm Sep. 4, 2012
Michael Bloomberg says his proposal to limit the size of soda servings to 16 ounces in restaurants and movie theaters, which the Board of Health will be voting to approve on Sept. 13, has been misunderstood.
"It's not a limit on what you can buy or drink," the mayor told reporters today. "And that's exactly the problem we have. You write it the wrong ways. It's purely limiting the cup size, the way the manufacturers limit their size in bottles. They decide what's appropriate for you based on what's good for them. We're trying to decide what's appropriate for you based on what's good for you. In either case, you can buy more bottles, or you can buy more cups."
Because the board's members are appointed by the mayor, there's no mystery around how the vote will turn out. But polling shows the public remains unconvinced of the proposal's worthiness.
The mayor said he was surprised support for the big-soda ban was as high as it was, given the press' insistence on calling it a ban.
He made his remarks at a yet another press conference designed to bolster support for the plan. At this one, he announced the backing of several members of the weight-loss industry, including Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and South Beach Diet founder Arthur Agatston.
Queens Weight Watchers client Rachelle Conley was also on hand to attest to the benefits of forgoing sugary drinks. She's lost 91 pounds, something she attributes in good part to her abstinence from such beverages.
A reporter asked her if, under the new regulations, she would have stopped at 16 ounces or gotten herself a second serving.
"I would have gotten a second 16-ounce, yes," said Conley, somewhat off-message.
The reporter asked if her why then she thinks the soda ban will have an impact.
"Because you don't realize how much you're drinking until you sit down and you do the calculating," she said. "Like, we calculated earlier that I was drinking like 78 Weight Watchers points a day just on drinking the sugary drinks and my coffee. So you don't realize it. It would make a difference. A big difference."
According to the city, one in eight New Yorkers now suffers from diabetes, and obesity has become prevalent citywide, with particularly high concentrations in the outer boroughs.
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