August 31, 2009

NYC campaign to confront sugary drinks

New York City's health department is telling residents to rethink their beverage choices and drink less sugary drinks.

Sugary drinks shouldn't be a part of our everyday diet, Thomas A. Farley, New York City health commissioner says in a statement.

Drinking beverages loaded with sugars increases the risk of obesity and associated problems, particularly diabetes but also heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer.

The health department's public-awareness campaign, which includes posters in the subway system and a multilingual Health Bulletin, will run for three months, Farley says.

Health department researchers surveyed adult New Yorkers about their soda and other sweetened drink consumption. More than 2 million drink at least one sugar-sweetened soda or other sweetened beverage each day -- some with hundreds of calories per drink. Sweetened-beverage consumption is higher among men than among women, and especially prevalent among 18- to 44-year-olds and among adult blacks and Hispanics, the study says.

A 16-ounce white ice chocolate mocha has 340 calories, a 20-ounce cola drink has 250 calories, a 16-ounce orange delight drink is 240 calories or 16-ounces of 100 percent apple juice is 220 calories, health officials said.

To avoid pouring on the pounds, the health agency suggests drinking water while exercising, eating whole fruit instead of juice and to order tea or coffee plain or flavor it yourself.