New NYC Campaign to raise sugar consumption awareness

The above ad is part of New York City Health Department's new campaign to raise awareness of the sugar in sodas. The campaign began on Monday, August 02, 2010.

August 2, 2010 2:59:10 PM PDT
Would you eat 26 packs of sugar?

Most New Yorkers probably would not eat that many packs of sugar at once. Yet, if you drink a large sugary soda, that's how much sugar you consume.

A new campaign from the New York City Health Department aims to raise awareness of the sugar in soft drinks to decrease the number of sodas New Yorkers consume. The campaign launched Monday with posters in subway stations. It comes amid survey results suggestion that sugary drink consumption in the city is declining.

The campaign follows last year's "Pouring On the Pounds" campaign, which also used subway posters. That campaign showed soda turning to blubber as it left the bottle. A few months later, the Health Department released an online video showing a man drinking a glass of blubber and pretending to enjoy it.

This year's campaign is design to go further by showing New Yorkers exactly how much sugar they are consuming. Each poster also reminds New Yorkers that sugar consumed in these quantities can lead to obesity and other health consequences, such as diabetes and heart disease.

"Few of us would knowingly eat that much sugar in one sitting, let alone feed it to our kids? This campaign raises a compelling question: If you wouldn't eat it, why drink it?" Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner said.

The campaign comes after results from the Community Health Survey, the city's annual study of resident health, found that consumption of sugary drinks fell between 2007 and 2009. The proportion of New York City adults consuming one or more sugary drinks fell about 12 percent between 2007 and 2009, from 36 percent to 32 percent. Consumption among 18 to 24 year olds fell even more sharply, by 17 percent, from 58 percent to 48 percent. Hispanics had the largest decrease of any racial group. Their consumption fell by 21 percent, from 48 percent to 38 percent, according to the NYC Health Department.

The Health Department sees these declines as progress in the battle against obesity. Sugared beverages add million of empty calories.

"Sugary drinks shouldn't be a part of our everyday diets," said Dr. Farley. He continued, "Soda has fueled the obesity epidemic as portion sizes have grown and marketing of these products has intensified. We still have a long way to go to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, but it's encouraging to see that New Yorkers are starting to move away from these products."

Three out of every 5 New Yorkers are overweight are obese, according to the Health Department.

New York City has taken other steps to encourage better nutrition, including posting calorie counts in restaurants, limiting junk food in school and day car centers, and training health care providers to eat more healthfully.