Obesity caused by sugary drinks? What new report says

Big sodas are leaving the Big Apple. Under a new proposal from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that was ratified by the New York City Board of Health on September 13, all sugar-sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces would be banned in locations that fall under the board's regulation. Bloomberg called for the ban because more than half of New Yorkers are overweight or obese. Critics say the mayor, who has a history of taking on the soda industry, is trying to run a "nanny state." The ban will go into effect in March 2013, bringing changes to residents and tourists looking for a sugary drink. Will the ban remove every 24-ounce soda bottle in New York City? Will it affect popular restaurants and food chains? Keep clicking to find out the skinny on the super-sized sugary drink ban... istockphoto

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(CBS/AP) Like soda? You've got lots of company. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that half of Americans drink soda or another sugary beverage daily.

PICTURES - Sugary drink shockers: What new report says

And some people are drinking a lot of the stuff. According to the data, one in 20 people guzzles the equivalent of more than four cans of soda each day. Health officials say sweetened beverages should be limited to less than half a can.

What's wrong with sweetened drinks? They've been linked to the U.S. explosion in obesity and related medical problems.

Health officials have been urging people to cut back on soda for years. Some officials have proposed an extra soda tax and many schools have stopped selling soda or artificial juices. But advocates say those efforts are not enough, and on Wednesday a coalition of 100 organizations announced a new push.

The effort includes the American Heart Association and the some city health departments who plan to prod companies to stop the sale of sugary drinks on their property or providing them at business meetings - as Boston's Carney Hospital did in April. There will also be new media campaigns, like one starting soon in Los Angeles that will ask "If you wouldn't eat 22 packs of sugar, why are you drinking it?'

The CDC study is based on interviews of more than 17,000 people between 2005 and 2008. People were asked to recount everything they ate and drank in the previous day. Diet sodas, sweetened teas, flavored milks and 100 percent fruit juice did not count as sweetened beverages.

Healthy-eating recommendations call for people to limit sugary beverages to about 64 calories per day. That's a little less than half of a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola, which is 140 calories. In other terms: An average can of sugared soda or juice has 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association on Wednesday said sales of full-calorie soft drinks have been declining, which they credited to soda makers offering more no-calorie and low-calorie options and improved calorie labeling on the front.

These initiatives "will contribute far more to solving complex health issues like obesity than (the coalition's) sound bite solution that offers plenty of hype but no substance," the statement said.

  • David W Freeman

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