WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama says banning big servings of sugary drinks isn't anything she'd want to do at the federal level but she applauded New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday for proposing to do just that at city eateries.
It was a telling example of the fine line the first lady walks as she tries to improve America's health and eating habits without provoking complaints that she's telling people how to eat or raise their children.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mrs. Obama said there's no "one-size-fits-all" solution for the country's health challenges. But she said she "applauds anyone who's stepping up to think about what changes work in their communities," and she's citing New York as one example.
Poll: More against NYC ban on large sugary drinks
NEW YORK (AP) — About half of New Yorkers say Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban of sugary drinks over 16 ounces from the city's eateries is an example of government going too far, while 42 percent say it would be good health policy, according to a poll released Monday.
Of the 500 adults surveyed Sunday for the NY1-Marist poll, 53 percent said the proposal is a bad idea, while 42 percent praised the concept — which would make New York the first American city to so directly attempt to limit portion sizes in an attempt to fight obesity.
Forty-five percent of those polled said they think the ban would help people lose weight, while 52 percent said it wouldn't make a difference. More than half the people surveyed said they never order a sugary drink large enough to be banned.
The pollsters contacted people at random on cell phones and land lines on Sunday. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Last week, Bloomberg proposed limiting portion sizes of sugary drinks to 16 ounces at the city's restaurants, delis, food trucks, movie theaters and sporting arenas. Regular soda and sports drinks would be affected, while diet sodas wouldn't. Any drink that's more than half milk or more than 70 percent juice would be exempt.
Grocery stores and many convenience stores are regulated by the state and wouldn't be impacted.
Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said the poll showed New Yorkers weren't overwhelmingly set against the proposal.
"We didn't propose it because we thought it would be popular, but it should come as no surprise that the numbers are so close since New Yorkers always have had an openness to bold ideas when taking on intractable problems," he said in a statement.
The ban has been denounced by the soft-drink industry and critics who accuse the mayor of trying to institute a "nanny state" rather than allowing individuals to make their own choices. It's expected to win the approval of the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health and take effect as early as March.