Weekly Roundup: Soda in the Spotlight

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
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One week after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his proposal to limit the size of sugary drinks sold in his city to 16 ounces, health advocates gathered at a conference in Washington to look at additional strategies for reducing Americans' soft drink consumption. The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s National Soda Summit, which takes place through Friday afternoon, features an array of speakers focusing on the health impacts of soda and discussing strategies for reducing it in the American diet.

Follow the conference on Twitter via the hashtag #NatSodaSummit.

Criticism — and Praise — for Bloomberg’s 16 oz Proposal

Perhaps not surprisingly, the soft drink industry this week pushed back against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to limit the size of sugary drinks in New York to 16 ounces. A spokeswoman for the Coca-Cola Company said in an interview with USA Today, for example, that there “is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity.”

And perhaps not surprisingly, health advocates hit back, arguing that sugary drinks are the No. 1 source of sugar in Americans’ diets and a key driver of obesity. Others said the Bloomberg proposal is the start of creating a new, healthier normal when it comes to soda consumption.

“The real promise of the Bloomberg plan is not in immediately changing the habits of our adults, but in slowly beginning to change the environment for our kids,” Mark Bittman wrote in the New York Times.

In other obesity news:

Disney Announces Food Marketing Policy

Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger joined First Lady Michelle Obama at a press conference this week to announce the company’s new policy that will prohibit many unhealthy food and beverages to be marketed via children-focused Disney programming and online content. The announcement triggered a wave of praise from health advocates, who said it could potentially led to similar policies from other media companies.

Doctors Aren’t Helping Overweight Kids Lose Weight, Study Finds

A new study finds that physicians often urge obese teens to eat healthy and exercise, but overweight children headed toward obesity “seldom get the same medical advice,” according to U.S. News and World Report. Fewer than half of all adolescents were advised to eat healthy, and only a third were told to exercise more, the study found. That’s a concern because it is easier to prevent obesity than help people lose weight.

To Fight Obesity, Could Home Economics Make a Comeback?

Slate ran an interesting article this week arguing that schools should offer students more home economics classes. Most parents these days work and simply don’t have time to teach their kids the basics of running a household — which includes making healthy meals.

As Torie Bosch writes: “A stronger home-ec curriculum could also rebut the myth that heavily processed foods are cheaper. A recent USDA report concludes that this isn’t so. A student who learns four or five easy recipes incorporating healthy, cheap ingredients such as chickpeas can ease the financial and time burden on her parents while helping her family eat better.”

Stay updated on childhood obesity news all week. Follow on Twitter or check us out on Facebook.



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