Pass NYC's Proposed Sugary Drink Size Limit

In June 2012, Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan to ban the sale of large sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters, and food carts in an effort to limit the amount consumed by New Yorkers. By placing a 16-ounce limit in serving size for sugary drinks, the City hopes to reduce obesity rates&8213;which are linked to consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010 was used to determine the average percentage of children and youth in each age and sex group that would be affected by the limit. The analysis of the NHANES data assumes that girls and boys who currently drink sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) would reduce their daily intake, limiting it to a maximum of 16 ounces per day. The average daily caloric intake is taken before and after the limit is in place in food service establishments.

The food service establishments included in the analysis of the NHANES 2007-2010 data correspond with the following NHANES values with in the DR1FS variable, which includes: (1) restaurant with waiter/waitress, (2) restaurant fast food/pizza, (3) bar/tavern/lounge, (4) restaurant no additional information, (5) sport, recreation, or entertainment facility, and (4) street vendor or vending truck. These codes were matched as closely as possible with the NYC's definition of a food service establishments: "a place where food is provided for individual portion service directly to the consumer, whether the food is provided free of charge or sole and whether the food is consumed on or off premises. This includes restaurants, employee cafeterias, bakeries, takeouts, pizzerias, night clubs, cabarets, bars, senior centers, emergency food relief organizations, public and non-public schools." The estimates provided use the columns "% of Group that Consume >16oz. Serving" and "Avg. kcal Impact" in the table below. The average caloric impact is the daily caloric reduction if those that currently drink beverages in servings sizes greater than 16 oz. beverages reduce their intake to a single 16 oz. serving.

Sex Age Group % of Group that
Consume SSBs
% of Group that
Consume >16oz. Serving
Avg. kcal
Both     2-5 61.3 0.64 24.2
Boys     2-5 64.0 0.87 21.1
Girls     2-5 58.2 0.37 32.3
Both     6-11 72.6 5.11 67.9
Boys     6-11 74.3 6.05 70.0
Girls     6-11 70.8 4.19 64.9
Both     12-14 73.7 9.38 93.6
Boys     12-14 73.8 10.12 109.3
Girls     12-14 73.6 8.73 77.7
Both     15-18 26.6 45.0 g 1.15
Boys     15-18 77.4 15.34 120.3
Girls     15-18 74.5 11.16 100.1

The SSBs included in this sugary drink limit analysis follow the same methodology as Wang et al. in their analysis of the caloric contributions from SSBs among U.S. youth. The following nonalcoholic beverages were defined as an SSB: soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks and punches, low-calorie drinks, sweetened tea, and other sweetened beverages. For more detailed information on the coding of the data, please refer to the Appendix of paper.

* The Average Caloric Impact (ACI) for this intervention is modeled based on published estimates of SSB consumption as described above.

Studies Used in Estimates

Elbel B, Cantor J, Mijanovich T. Potential Effect of the New York City Policy Regarding Sugared Beverages. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;367(7):680-681.

Wang YC, Blelch SN, Gortmaker SL. Increasing Caloric Contribution From Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and 100% Fruit Juices Among U.S. Children and Adolescents, 1998-2004. Pediatrics 2008; 121(6):e1604-e1614.

Other References

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control. Maximum Size For Sugary Drinks: Proposed Amendment of Article 81. June 12, 2012.

New York City. More Medical Experts Weigh in on Importance of Mayor Bloomberg's Anti-Obesity Initiative. July 19, 2012.

The New York City Obesity Task Force. Reversing the Epidemic: The New York City Obesity Task Force Plan to Prevent and Control Obesity. May 31, 2012.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Reversing the Epidemic: The New York City Obesity Task Force Plan to Prevent and Control Obesity. 2012.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Notice of Public Hearing: Opportunity to Comment on the Proposed Amendment of Article 81 (Food Preparation and Food Establishments) of the New York City Health Code, found in Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York. July 2012.