Weight loss firms back New York soda ban05 September 2012
Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig have entered the New York soda ban debate after lending their support for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial plans.
The plans, which have been slammed by the American Beverage Association, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, would prohibit the sale of “supersized” sugary drinks in public spaces such as restaurants, cinemas and stadiums.
“It is only with this kind of commitment and community-based support that major strides can be made against obesity,” said David Burwick, Weight Watchers North America’s president.
“We hope that more mayors, health departments and businesses will follow New York City’s example to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”
“Along with Mayor Bloomberg, we support all efforts that will help get America healthy,” added Dana Fiser, Jenny Craig’s chief executive.
“We also teach our clients that the majority of sugary drinks are filled with empty calories and lack nutritional value.”
The support from the US’ largest weight loss groups comes just days before the Bloomberg’s administration attempts to have the plans approved by the city’s board of health.
Rivals Coca-Cola and PepsiCo were united earlier this year when the plans were first announced and launched advertising campaigns against the ban centred on freedom of choice.
“These diet companies often emphasise choice and options in their own plans, allowing their customers a wide variety of food and drink. We want the same thing,” said Eliot Hoff, the New Yorkers for Beverage Choices’ spokesman.
“Restrictions and bans will do nothing to address the very complex issue of obesity.This is not passing with the support of New Yorkers and businesses are extremely concerned.”
The plans are expected to be approved by the New York board of health on 13 September. If passed, the new legislation would come into force next year.
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