The new campaign reminds New Yorkers that sugary drinks can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cavities and weight gain
About 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 3 public high school students drink at least one sugary drink daily; rates are higher in communities of color, especially among young Black and Latino children
January 7, 2019 — The Health Department today announced the launch of a new media campaign that compares sugary drinks to cigarettes. The campaign emphasizes that both products are hazardous to your health and reminds New Yorkers not to give sugary drinks to children. Sugary drinks – including soda, sweetened iced tea, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit punch and other fruit-flavored drinks that have added sugar – can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cavities and weight gain. In New York City, sugary drink consumption overall declined among adults between 2007 and 2017. About 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 3 public high school students drink at least one sugary drink per day. Rates of consumption are much higher in communities of color, especially for the youngest New Yorkers (up to age 5) — the prevalence for Black children is 28 percent and Latino children is 31 percent, compared to 8 percent among Whites. The ads, in both English and Spanish, are running on TV and social media citywide. The campaign runs through early February.
“Like cigarettes, sugary drinks are bad for our health and can have long-term consequences,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Through this campaign, we hope all New Yorkers will understand that, while sugary drinks may be sweet going down, their impact on our health is not. We urge all New Yorkers to consume fewer sugary drinks, and parents should not give sugary drinks to their children.”
“Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in our diets - more than desserts, candy and other sweets combined. It’s extremely worrisome that one third of our youth have at least one sugary drink a day.” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Sonia Angell. “This campaign is part of our ongoing efforts, from working with industry to reduce sugar in the food supply overall, to increasing no and low-sugar drink options available in schools; NYC is working hard to make healthy choices the easiest choices for all of us.”
“Sugary drinks are just as bad as smoking cigarettes,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. “Both are harmful, resulting in poor health to those who take them. What more does it take to convince people that smoking can lead to cancer and that sugar calories bring on obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease? We need to do all we can to limit use of these products. This new city media campaign will help get the word out to avoid sugary drinks.”
“Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are epidemic, and sugary beverages are a major factor. This is a public health crisis, like tobacco, and increasing public awareness about the risks makes sense, just like for tobacco,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee.
“This new media campaign represents another effort by this administration to improve New Yorkers' health by highlighting the negative health impact of consuming sugary drinks," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. "Just as we are working to reduce smoking among New Yorkers, we must continue conveying that making small lifestyle changes, such as limiting the consumption of sugary drinks, is critical if we want to be effective at combating obesity and diabetes in our City. I look forward to continue helping New Yorkers especially in low-income communities, make better choices to lead healthier lives."
“The soda industry aggressively promotes sweetened drinks through ads, sponsorships, ubiquitous placement, and steep pricing discounts,” said the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s vice president for nutrition Margo G. Wootan. “Though familiar and duplicitously marketed as fostering happiness, sugar-sweetened beverages in the amounts currently promoted and present throughout the food supply are unsafe. It’s terrific to see New York City taking another step to create an environment conducive to reduced consumption.”
“The American Heart Association applauds the efforts of our city to reduce consumption of added sugar in our diet,” stated Robin Vitale, Vice President, Health Strategies for the American Heart Association in New York City. “Added sugars contribute to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity-related cancers, and dental caries in people of all ages. The American Heart Association recommends that kids ages 12-18 should have less than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily for a healthy heart. We look forward to this and future efforts to tackle this problem, especially in NYC’s most vulnerable populations.”
The de Blasio administration is committed to reducing sugary drink consumption and preventing chronic disease. Initiatives include:
Data on sugary drink consumption in New York City by age group:
Know the risks:
Tips to avoid sugary drinks:
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Buhle, (347) 396-4177 PressOffice@health.nyc.gov