NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City's health department has announced an initiative to reduce sugar consumption and stop the rise in obesity.
Dr. Oxiris Barbot of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is leading a push to get food companies to significantly cut the sugar in packaged foods and drinks by 2025, reports CBS2's Dave Carlin.
The goal is a sugar reduction of 20 percent in packaged foods and 40 percent in drinks.
"The current health status of our country just demands that," said Barbot. "Part of this is really starting the conversation and creating consumer demand, creating more momentum."
The average American eats 17 teaspoons of sugar daily, about five more than the recommended amount, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Hell's Kitchen resident Diane George reads every label when she shops and says she is alarmed to see so much sugar hiding in barbecue sauces, peanut butter and much more.
"What can you do, it's everywhere," she said.
The move comes as City Hall's latest attempt to monitor people's eating habits. Starting in 2015, chain restaurants were required to post high-sodium warnings on their menu's saltier dishes.
Before that, former mayor Michael Bloomberg failed in his quest to outlaw sodas and other sugary drinks over 16 ounces in size.
That ban was struck down by a judge and in the Court of Appeals in 2013.
It is not clear how the new effort to cut sugar will be imposed on the food industry across the country and on manufacturers who produce products outside of New York City.
"It's a good thing, because diabetes when it comes to sugar," said Eladio Lind.
Others worry the city may be overstepping its role in people's lives.
"I don't think the city should be the lead, I think that people should be deciding 'hey, this isn't good for us,'" said Yvette Batavia.
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