NEW YORK (WKOW) -- New York City 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.
The stated goal of the mayor is to combat obesity, in an expansion of his administration's efforts to encourage healthy behavior by taking away unhealthy choices.
Bloomberg's office is expected to be announced formally on Thursday in a City Hall briefing. It would take 20-ounce soda bottles off the shelves of New York City's delis and eliminate many super-sized soft drinks from fast-food menus.
In a statement, the New York City Beverage Association called the proposal ‘‘zealous'', adding the Association's belief that soda is not responsible for rising obesity rates.
City Hall officials have countered that argument by citing a 2006 study that found sugary drinks are the largest driver of rising calorie consumption and obesity. They note the study showed sweet drinks are linked to long-term weight gain and increased rates of diabetes and heart disease.
The ban could take effect as soon as March. It would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sugary drinks sold at places that prepare food, including restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.
The ban would apply only to drinks that contain more than 25 calories per eight ounces, so diet sodas and calorie-free drinks would not be included in the ban.
Also, any drink that is at least half milk or milk substitute would be exempted. And the ban would not apply to drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores that don't serve prepared food.
Affected businesses that don't downsize would face fines of $200 after a three-month grace period.
The city's Board of Health is expected to approve the proposal, since its members are all appointed by Mayor Bloomberg. There will also be public hearings.
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