07 October 2010

New York seeks to ban use of food stamps for sugary drinks

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg along with Governor David Paterson have submitted a request to The Department of Agriculture to add sugar sweetened drinks to the list of items that cannot be purchased with food stamps. The request is part of an anti-obesity campaign that has also included anti-soda advertisements, stricter rules on food sold in schools, and an unsuccessful attempt to tax soda and other sugary drinks.

The campaign is a response to the alarming rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes especially among children, in low income communities. According to the New York City Department of Health, 40 percent of public school students in kindergarten through eighth grade are overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes is also twice as common among poor New Yorkers.

"In spite of the great gains we've made over the past eight years in making our communities healthier, there are still two areas where we're losing ground -- obesity and diabetes," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.

The ban would be for two years to study the impact on health and whether a permanent ban would be merited.

Additionally the ban would not extend to other unhealthful products like ice cream, potato chips and candy.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw
Robin lives in NYC with her cat Maggie where she follows a vegetarian lifestyle, practices yoga, and volunteers at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Follow Robin on Facebook

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/julep67