Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Are You Pouring On The Pounds?

Thanks to HeadCount's issue editor Amy Vaden, who wrote about this in her latest Food & Farm Policy e-newsletter --

The NYC Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene's new campign "Are You Pouring On The Pounds?" includes posters in the subway system and a multilingual Health Bulletin. It began in early September and will run through the end of November.

The campaign’s signature image – in which a bottle of soda, “sports” drink or sweetened iced tea turns to a blob of fat as it reaches the glass – is s a stark reminder of how these products can lead to obesity and related health problems.

Acording to NYC's press release, a 20-oz bottle of soda can contain 16 ½ teaspoons of sugar. Fruit juice is more nutritious than soda, and rarely consumed in such large portions, but it is just as rich in calories. Coffee and tea drinks also pack more calories than many consumers realize.

When public high school students were asked whether they drank at least one soda a day over the course of a week, the proportion answering “yes” was 29% in the Bronx, followed by Staten Island (25%), Queens (23%), Brooklyn (22%) and Manhattan (21%). Teens who drink sugary beverages get an average of 360 calories from them each day – an amount they would have to walk 70 city blocks to burn.

“Sugary drinks shouldn’t be a part of our everyday diet,” said New York City Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley. “Drinking beverages loaded with sugars increases the risk of obesity and associated problems, particularly diabetes but also heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer.”

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