Paid for by Bill Thompson for Mayor. Printed in-House._
September 12, 2012Thomas A. Farley, M.D., MPH, CommissionerDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene125 Worth StreetNew York, NY 10013 Dear Commissioners,
I urge you to table tomorrow’s vote on the Mayor’s proposal to ban sugary drinks larger than 16
ounces from some food service establishments in New York City. While I feel strongly aboutcombating obesity in our communities, this proposal is not the answer. It pretends to address theproblem while accomplishing nothing more than limiting individual choice and hurting smallbusinesses.As a lifelong resident of New York City and an advocate for healthier choices for our children, Ibelieve that we solve problems like obesity by coming together and collectively putting forwardproposals that improve the health of our communities. For example, I believe we must have ourschools and the media educate families about the importance of healthy eating habits. I believewe must all work to increase the availability of healthier foods in our neighborhoods. Forexample, the expansion of green markets and of fresh foods in bodegas and local supermarkets isa necessary public policy tool in the fight against obesity. I have also been a strong proponent of improving physical education and recreational opportunities in our schools. Bottom line, Ibelieve we need to arm New Yorkers with the knowledge to make healthy personal choices andto provide our children with every support needed to act on those choices.To accomplish this, we should look at incentives for companies that promote exercise andhealthy living. We should work with our Parks Department to increase programming forchildren and families that promote physical activity. In addition, we should encourage a private-public partnership between health institutions, foundations, corporations and government toexpand best practices to combat the health peril of obesity.