Published: November 2015

ID #: CAS018

Journal: Am J Public Health

Authors: Roberto CA, Pomeranz JL

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In 2012, the New York City (NYC) Board of Health passed a regulation prohibiting the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) larger than 16 ounces in the city’s food service establishments. In June 2014, the rule was overturned after New York’s highest court ruled that the Board overstepped its authority. This analysis aimed to identify common arguments made in favor of and against the SSB portion limit policy through a content analysis of all written and spoken public testimony submitted to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Testimony was coded based on author, stance on the policy, and type of argument made. The authors identify 217 (47.1%) pro-policy, 234 (50.8%) anti-policy, and 10 (2.2%) neutral unique comments. Half of the testimony was provided by the general public, with 40 percent supporting the policy; one quarter of the testimony was submitted by health professionals, who were largely in support of the policy; 15 percent of testimony was submitted by business representatives and government officials, who largely opposed the policy; and another 10 percent of anti-policy testimony had no source noted. The authors outline legal and scientific arguments that challenge anti-policy arguments; and conclude although the policy was not implemented in NYC, it could be legally pursued by other legislatures.

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