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Limit on Large Sugary Drinks OK'd by City's Board of Health

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Shortly after voting almost unanimously to limit the size of sugary drinks to no more than 16 ounces, the Board of Health got a big developer to throw his weight behind the regulation months before it goes into affect.

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Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, said the stadium would follow the rule when it opens in two weeks.

"It is time really for us to do this kind of initiative," he said during a news conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and top health officials at City Hall this afternoon. "We need to change how we look at obesity."

He said Coca-Cola, the soda beverage partner for the stadium, had agreed to the size limit.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg lauded the decision by the Board of Health. The panel voted eight-to-zero, with one abstention, for the new regulation.

He said such policies were critical to addressing the city's obesity epidemic, which he said is costing $4 billion in direct medical costs each year.

"This is really the only public health issue that is getting worse," he said. "And it's getting worse dramatically."

The beverage industry, which launched a publicity campaign to try to sway the public into opposing the regulation when it was first announced, promised to continue to fight it.

“This is not the end,” said Eliot Hoff, spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, said in a statement. “We are exploring legal options, and all other avenues available to us. We will continue to voice our opposition to this ban and fight for the right of New Yorkers to make their own choices. And we will stand with the business owners who will be hurt by these arbitrary limitations.”

The regulation goes into affect in March.

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Guest Tuesday, 08 July 2014