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.
Public Health and Legal Arguments in Favor of a Policy to Cap the Portion Sizes of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
The Influence of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Warnings: A Randomized Trial of Adolescents’ Choices and Beliefs
California, New York, and the cities of San Francisco and Baltimore have introduced bills requiring health-related warning labels for sugar-sweetened beverages. This study measured the extent to which these warning labels influence adolescents’ beliefs and hypothetical choices. Over 2,000 adolescents ages 12-18 completed an online survey in which they chose … More
U.S. states have introduced bills requiring sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to display health warning labels. This study examined how warning labels influence parents and which labels are most effective. Over 2,000 demographically and educationally diverse parents of children ages 6 to 11 participated in an online survey. Parents were randomized to … More
The purpose of this project is to understand the influence of health warning labels displayed on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on consumer perceptions. This study was commissioned in response to California’s recent proposal to place health warning labels on SSBs in the absence of data. Investigators will conduct two randomized-controlled, web-based … More