Rationing soft drink sizes: A good public health move

December 17, 2012

New York City's limit of a maximum 16-ounce size of sugar-sweetened drinks for sale in eating establishments is a positive public health move and should be replicated in Canada, argues an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"Because sugary drinks are the leading source of dietary calories in North America, New York City's latest measure is a rational strategy to combat obesity on a ," writes Dr. Matthew Stanbrook, Deputy Editor, Practice, CMAJ. "The scientific case for reducing sugar consumption is stronger than ever. Recent evidence has established that the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed substantially increases a person's for obesity."

Critics of such as this argue they are heavy-handed, are paternalistic and threaten personal choice. However, public health departments often take more intrusive measures when dealing with communicable diseases to ensure the safety of the population.

"New York City's new regulation on sugary drinks exemplifies how governments can intervene: not by limiting personal freedoms, but rather by normalizing the definition of what a serving is supposed to be."

People who choose to consume excessive amounts of are free to purchase a second drink if they wish.

"New York City's leadership on public health nutrition puts Canada's inaction to shame," concludes Dr. Stanbrook. "Our federal government has time and again refused to enact regulations on many of the issues New York is already addressing, disbanding expert panels and ignoring scientific advice. …We should all be inspired by New York's lead, showing us that this can be done successfully."

More information: Paper: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.121900

Related Stories

Feds oppose ban on food stamps for sodas in NYC

August 20, 2011

(AP) -- A plan by New York City to combat obesity by restricting the purchase of sugary drinks with foods stamps would be too large and complex, federal officials said Friday.

Soda wars fizz in New York after proposed ban

June 12, 2012

A soda war fizzed in New York on Tuesday as the city health department began to consider a proposal by health-conscious Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban super-sized soft drinks.

Booze calories nearly equal soda's for US adults

November 15, 2012

Americans get too many calories from soda. But what about alcohol? It turns out adults get almost as many empty calories from booze as from soft drinks, a government study found.

Recommended for you

Can four fish oil pills a day keep the doctor away?

July 7, 2015

Fish oil is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S. because of the perceived cardiovascular benefits of the omega-3 it contains. However, scientific findings on its effectiveness have been conflicting. New ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.