NYC split on large soda ban

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iol new spic large soda AP New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks in the city's restaurants, delis and movie theaters in the hopes of combating obesity, an expansion of his administration's efforts to encourage healthy behavior by limiting residents' choices.

New York - About half of New Yorkers say Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban of sugary drinks over 480 millilitres from the city's eateries is an example of government going too far, while 42 percent say it would be good health policy, according to a poll released on Monday.

Of the 500 adults surveyed Sunday for the NY1-Marist poll, 53 percent said the proposal is a bad idea, while 42 percent praised the concept -which would make New York the first American city to so directly attempt to limit portion sizes in an attempt to fight obesity.

Forty-five percent of those polled said they think the ban would help people lose weight, while 52 percent said it wouldn't make a difference. More than half the people surveyed said they never order a sugary drink large enough to be banned.

The pollsters contacted people at random on cell phones and land lines on Sunday. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Last week, Bloomberg proposed limiting portion sizes of sugary drinks to 480 millilitres at the city's restaurants, delis, food trucks, movie theatres and sporting arenas. Regular soda and sports drinks would be affected, while diet sodas wouldn't. Any drink that's more than half milk or more than 70 percent juice would be exempt.

Grocery stores and many convenience stores are regulated by the state and wouldn't be impacted.

Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said the poll showed New Yorkers weren't overwhelmingly set against the proposal.

“We didn't propose it because we thought it would be popular, but it should come as no surprise that the numbers are so close since New Yorkers always have had an openness to bold ideas when taking on intractable problems,” he said in a statement.

The ban has been denounced by the soft-drink industry and critics who accuse the mayor of trying to institute a “nanny state” rather than allowing individuals to make their own choices. It's expected to win the approval of the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health and take effect as early as March. - Sapa-AP


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