It is possible to make a difference without banning sodas in restaurants

New paper in the American Journal of Public Health. “Reducing Sugary Drink Consumption: New York City’s Approach“:

Studies have linked the consumption of sugary drinks to weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Since 2006, New York City has taken several actions to reduce consumption.

Nutrition standards limited sugary drinks served by city agencies. Mass media campaigns educated New Yorkers on the added sugars in sugary drinks and their health impact. Policy proposals included an excise tax, a restriction on use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and a cap on sugary drink portion sizes in food service establishments.

These initiatives were accompanied by a 35% decrease in the number of New York City adults consuming one or more sugary drinks a day and a 27% decrease in public high school students doing so from 2007 to 2013.

Adult and youth sugary drink consumption: New York City, 2007–2013

The soda ban gets all the press, but New York has done many things to try and reduce people’s consumption of sugary drinks. New standards were put in place for food that is purchased by city agencies and service providers they contract with. That would apply to food served in schools, prisons, public hospitals, senior centers, and more. The city engaged in massive educational media companions. They passed new regulations for childcare centers, food service establishments, and camps. They even tried (and failed) to pass a new tax and remove sugary drink options from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This happened:This isn’t a randomized controlled trial. So I won’t stand here and say that these policies caused what you’re seeing above. But we can all agree it’s probably a good thing. It might be interesting to see other places try some of these ideas, too.


P.S. If it turns out that this mirrors national trends, and you’re got data to show it, let me know and I’ll backtrack. I can’t find any good stuff that covers years this recent to compare this to.

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