1,000 posters were sited in subway trains throughout the city on 9 January. One poster shows an obese man – a Type 2 diabetes sufferer who lost his right leg – sitting behind a chart showing how soda portions have ballooned over time.
The poster reads, Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations. Cut your portions. Cut your risk.
The advertisements immediately came under fire from the American Beverage Association, which criticised the health department for painting ‘an inaccurate picture’ of the dangers of soda.
Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, said the campaign is needlessly disturbing. “Instead of utilising scare tactics, the beverage industry is offering real solutions, like smaller portioned containers and new calorie labels.”
Mayor Bloomberg defended the graphic posters: “What do you want to do? Do you want to have people lose their legs? Or do you want to show them what happens so that they won’t lose their legs? Take your poison. Which do you want?”
Health commissioner Thomas Farley said the advertisements are needed to warn consumers about the massive portions they’re eating and drinking.
“The portion sizes that are marketed are often much more than humans need,” said Farley. “We are warning people about the risks of super-size portions so they can make more informed choices about what they eat.”
According to the New York Health Department, nearly 57% of New Yorkers are overweight or obese and about 10% have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Recent studies show that a third of New Yorkers eating at chain restaurants consume more than 1,000 calories at lunchtime alone.
Source: NY Daily News/Diabetes Information/ABA
Read Bill Bruce’s blog about this subject: Do ‘shock and awe’ tactics to fight obesity actually work?
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