US & Canada

New York City bans supersize sodas

A 32-ounce soda is filled at a McDonalds on 13 September 2012 in New York City
Image caption The ban will not apply to alcohol, diet sodas or drinks that are more than 70% juice

New York City has approved the first US ban on large-size sodas and other sugary drinks being sold in restaurants and other eateries.

The measure was passed by eight members of the city's mayoral-appointed health board, with one member abstaining.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for the ban as a way to reduce obesity and its related health problems.

Opponents have vowed to fight the law in court.

"We are smart enough to make our own decisions about what to eat and drink," Liz Berman, a business owner and chair of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a soft-drink industry sponsored group.

A New York Times poll in August suggested that 60% of New Yorkers were against the measure.

'Major health problem'

The ban, passed on Thursday, will apply to sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounce (0.5 litre) nearly everywhere they are sold, except groceries and convenience stores.

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Media captionNew York resident: "It should be up to the individual and not the mayor"

Diet sodas, alcoholic beverages and drinks that are more than 70% juice will not be affected.

Restaurants and others that violate the law face a $200 (£124) fine.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley called the measure "a historic step to address a major health problem of our time".

New York has become a national pacesetter on passing laws aimed at curbing obesity. The city was among the first to require chain restaurants to post calorie counts prominently on their menus.

About one-third of Americans are obese, and about 10% of US healthcare costs are tied to obesity-related disease, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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