Weekly Roundup: Sugary Drinks in the [16 oz.] Spotlight

It’s only been a day, but there’s already been major reaction to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to limit the size of sugary drinks sold in city restaurants, delis and movie theaters to 16 ounces.

The announcement dominated social media, television news programs and Internet publications on Thursday and Friday, with reaction ranging from people praising the move as a necessary health initiative to those who argued increased education would be a better policy to reduce obesity rates.

The New York Post defended the proposal, writing in an editorial that it’s “certainly worth a try” to help New Yorkers consume less sugary drinks. Jon Stewart poked fun at the plan on the Daily Show  Thursday night, joking that “Mayor Bloomberg's large soda ban would combine the draconian government overreach people love with the probable lack of results they expect.”

And then there was reaction from the beverage industry, which not surprisingly, criticized the proposal. The Associated Press reported that the proposed limitations come at a time when sugary drink consumption is declining, as more Americans are shifting toward healthier options.

New Yorkers themselves weighed in on Thursday in a video posted by the New York Times, with some saying they approve of the move, noting it will likely lead to people drinking less. Others criticized it, arguing they should have the right to drink what they want.

Bloomberg didn’t sit silent during the rapidly growing debate. He appeared on several television programs defending his proposal, including the Today Show on Friday, where compared it to the smoking ban his administration enacted several years ago.

“We’re not banning you from getting the stuff,” Bloomberg said of sugary drinks. “It’s just if you want 32 ounces, the restaurant has to serve it in two glasses. That’s not exactly taking away your freedoms. It’s not something that the founding fathers fought for.”

So what say you, network? Email us at and let us know!

In Other News, Michelle Obama Touts Gardening Book

While Bloomberg’s proposal dominated the news at the end of the week, First Lady Michelle Obama was in the spotlight at the start, as she hit the talk show circuit to promote her new book, “American Grown.” The tome tells the story of how Obama got the idea to plant the White House garden as a way to get a national conversation started about children’s health.

Obama appeared on everything from Good Morning America to the Daily Show to the Rachel Ray show to promote the book. The Daily Beast even found “12 Juicy Bits” to share with readers. Our favorite:

“The White House recently has hived some honeybees, which have proved a point of contention. ‘Are those bees going to swarm when I play basketball?’ the president asked. In fact, the stinging drones did swarm—not the basketball courts, but the White House press gate. ‘Secret Service officers huddled in the guard booth’ until the official beekeeper took the bees down with a squirt bottle.”

MyPlate Celebrates its One-Year Anniversary

MyPlate, the food icon introduced by the Obama Administration last year to simplify healthy eating for Americans, hit the one-year mark this week. The icon, which urges people to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables, has been widely praised by nutrition experts, Food Safety News reports.

Study: Formerly Obese Women Still Face Stigma

Prejudice still exists for former obese women even after they lost a significant amount of weight, new research finds. Fox News reports that the study finds that women who lost weight were viewed more negatively in terms of attractiveness than people who were never overweight.

…And in the Inside Track Leaders on Thursday received a copy of our e-newsletter, the Inside Track. This week, we shared a few fun tidbits from the recent Atlantic Food Summit, including Martha Stewart discussing her family history creating compost. We also got to know Dara Cooper, a longtime community organizer and advocate who now is bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved Chicago neighborhoods via a converted transit bus.

Don’t miss next week’s edition! Click here to apply to be a Leader.

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