As a resident of NYC, I'm proud of the health initiatives that Mayor Bloomberg has successfully initiated over the past ten years. In addition to banning smoking in bars, restaurants, and city parks, plazas and beaches, he has taken a hard stance in the fight against obesity.
Our Mayor has outlawed the use of trans-fats in restaurant kitchens and enacted a law requiring that city restaurant chains post calorie counts on menus and menu boards. I look for them automatically now, and really miss comparing calorie counts when I travel out of the city!
Some of his measures have been a little hard to swallow, namely the proposed ban on large sugary drinks being served in containers bigger than 16 oz. A NY State Supreme Court judge struck down the proposal last week saying there were too many loopholes and it was too hard to enforce.
But consider this breath-taking statistic, which I read in the March issue of IDEA Fitness Journal: According to a recent study, there is a correlation between frequent use of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and high rates of type 2 diabetes. Forty percent of all caloric sweeteners in the U.S. are HFCS, with most of it appearing in soft drinks.
The U.S. has the highest consumption rate of HFCS, with 55 pounds ingested per person per year, followed by Hungary with 46 pounds per capita. By comparison, the U.K. has only 1.1 pounds per person.
This stunning statistic reflects so poorly on the American diet and our well-being. We are literally killing ourselves by making uneducated food choices, and the food industry is not helping. We need high profile public figures like Mayor Bloomberg to advocate for us by bringing these issues to light.