Philadelphia watching the outcome of NY soda ban

PHILADELPHIA - September 13, 2012

It means restaurants, street carts and movie theaters will not be able to sell sugary drinks over 16 ounces, that includes soda, energy drinks and other sweet drinks.

And despite a lot of angry people, it will take effect in 6 months unless it is blocked by a judge.

In Philadelphia, there is good reason to watch what happens in New York.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the large soda ban is an effort to curb obesity.

"We believe it will help save lives," says Mayor Bloomberg.

Bloomberg's administration is known for proposing and passing aggressive public health policies.

In 2002, Bloomberg's administration banned smoking in restaurants and bars in the city. And many cities and states followed suit, including Philadelphia that now bans smoking in restaurants and most bars.

In 2005, New York City became the first to force restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats. Philadelphia later passed its own trans-fat ban.

And in 2008, Bloomberg passed a labeling law requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus.

Months later, Philadelphia passed a similar, more comprehensive law that went into effect in 2010.

So what does Mayor Michael Nutter think of the soda ban?

"I think the research is pretty clear that sweetened or sugary beverages are a contributing factor to a significant overweight and obesity problem seen in many cities in the United States of America," Mayor Nutter said. "We don't have any plans at the moment related to that, but we want to pay attention to what's going on."

Lawmakers in Philadelphia will be watching to see if the soda ban has a positive effect.

Whether banning large sodas makes a difference in waistlines depends on who you talk to.

Many health experts say it will help people cut calories; others say it won't make a difference.

One thing it will do is get people used to smaller portions.

Most people are used to seeing 32 ounce containers. While 32 ounces of water has a positive effect on the fight against obesity, 32 ounces of regular soda is loaded with sugar and extra empty calories.

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