NYC Board of Health Bans Sale of Large Sugary Drinks

By Melanie Arter | September 13, 2012 | 11:37 AM EDT

Stephanie Klose, blog writer for Serious Eats, sips beverage as she participates in a soda taste test on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

( The New York City Board of Health on Thursday voted to ban the sale of large sugary drinks in restaurants and movie theaters – a proposal enacted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The ban does not apply to sodas sold in grocery stores, but is designed to target fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s.

“It’s time to face the facts: obesity is one of America’s most deadly problems, and sugary beverages are a leading cause of it,” Bloomberg said in a statement announcing Weight Watchers’ support of the plan.

“As the size of sugary drinks has grown, so have our waistlines – and so have diabetes and heart disease. As weight-loss experts can attest, men and women struggle every day to lose weight, or even to just not gain a few pounds – and portion control is key to success,” he said.

“Our proposal for reasonable portion sizes won’t prevent anyone from buying or drinking as much soda as they want, but it will help people keep from inadvertently taking in junk calories simply because the small drink they ordered was actually very large,” Bloomberg added.

The group New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, which is sponsored by the soft-drink industry, has collected more than 250,000 signatures from people opposing the ban and plan to file a lawsuit as well.

The ban, which takes effect in March 2013, limits the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces or less.