The New York City Health Department has launched a new ad campaign — at taxpayer expense — spotlighting the ever growing increase in portion sizes and the consequences everyone is surly already painfully aware of.
The ads, which began appearing in the subway system on Monday, warn that obesity and diabetes have become more common as the average size of food servings has risen.
In one rather poignant press release passage, the Health Department praises the city of New York for making strides in combating the nationwide trend of growing obesity, followed by an admission in the very next sentence that the majority of adult New Yorkers remain overweight or obese — a revelation that renders New York City’s progress in combating obesity more of a stroll than a stride.
The press release states that in the last 50 years the serving sizes of sugary drinks quadrupled and french fries nearly tripled. With a few casual selections, a single meal could balloon to contain many more calories than the amount an adult needs for an entire day.
According to the press release, this new campaign, along with the City’s ongoing requirement that chain restaurants post calorie counts, will continue to provide New Yorkers with the information they need to make healthier choices.
The press release indicates that in one of the new posters, available in English and Spanish, a man with type 2 diabetes and an amputated leg sits behind a graphic showing how soda portions have increased over time. “Cut your portions. Cut your risk,” the text reads below, providing New Yorkers with a clear strategy for preventing obesity and its health consequences.
“The portion sizes that are marketed are often much more than humans need,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley “We are warning people about the risks of super-size portions so they can make more informed choices about what they eat. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, which greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. If New Yorkers cut their portions, they can cut their risk of these health problems.”
While the dramatic increase in fast-food portions through the years is extraordinary, everyone knows all too well that consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain and related health problems.
The number of New Yorkers motivated to make healthier choices and forgo that next order of large fries because of ad nauseam public service ads is equal to the number of New York smokers who pay attention to the warnings on cigarette packs. You can count them on one hand.
With many Americans now forced to raid their savings accounts to get them through this so-called economic recovery, people are less concerned about their weight and more interested in feeling full from relatively inexpensive super-size portions of any kind of food they can afford when dining out.
It’s my guess a fair share of New Yorkers still haven’t recovered from Mayor Bloomberg’s draconian nanny state salt policy, in which he commanded New York restaurants to cut the amount of salt in restaurant foods.
The New York Times claims that in 2009, during a legislative battle over taxing sodas, the health department produced ads that showed a pile of yellow fat on a place-setting and warned that drinking a can of soda a day “can make you 10 pounds fatter a year.”
Last year, the New York Times noted there had been a “protracted dispute” within the department about scientific validity of that claim.