The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) is at it again, seizing any opportunity to promote its obsessive crusade against sugary drinks. Today marks the day when the New York State Appellate Division will take its turn, sizing up the case of the New York City Board of Health — actually at the beck and call of Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and its attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks served in certain restaurants and other venues, including movie theaters. Coincidentally – or maybe not — NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley has also taken the opportunity today to point out that diabetes-related deaths in the city have been on the rise.
He comments, “We’re really experiencing an epidemic of diabetes and that’s being driven by our epidemic of obesity. Obesity rates continue to rise and diabetes is very strongly associated with obesity.”
Well, what better culprit to blame for these trends than large-sized sugary drinks? According to the health department, consumption of just one sugary drink per day can increase an individual’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the health department continues to defend its belief that putting a limit on the size of sugary drinks sold will slow this rise in diabetes, as well as reduce rates of obesity. There is, however, a moment of clarity when Dr. Farley points out briefly that limiting the sales of sugary drinks is not the ultimate solution, and this alone will not “solve this problem.”
ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says, “We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. This proposition that putting a cap on the size of sugary drinks sold will reduce consumption is not based on scientific evidence, but rather driven by agenda and propaganda. Obesity rates have actually been declining, contrary to what Dr. Farley is saying, and that is without this restriction on the size of sugary drinks. This arbitrary ruling — applying in some establishments but not others, and to some beverages but not others — will not stop someone from consuming as large a quantity of sugary drink as he or she wants.”