With the new year, New York City bid farewell to Mayor Mike Bloomberg after a twelve-year term. Love him or hate him, his achievements in public health were stunning. While others only talked, he managed to act on smoking, obesity, and hypertension—and he placed the burden of fixing them on the industries that profited at the cost of the public’s health.
The Mayor showed that public health is a priority for local government, not just for the federal government to create health policies from on high. Bloomberg used New York City as a laboratory for public health innovation, spotlighting issues and testing solutions on a relatively small scale.
Here’s a reminder of Mayor Bloomberg’s most significant public health campaigns:
Mayor and proud papa of New York, Micheal Bloomberg, is on another mission to make his beloved city a better place. This time, he’s tackling the tough subject of self-esteem and body image issues, particularly with young girls ages 7-12. NYC may be one of the fashion capitals of the world, but Bloomberg, along with other members of the New York City Girl’s Project, want to spread the message, “I’m Beautiful The Way I Am.”
The campaign, conceived in the mayor’s office by deputy press secretary, Samantha Levine, chose to target the 7-12 age bracket citing statistics from several studies on eating disorders. They concluded negative body image was a concern for girls at a very young age. The NYC Girls’ Project website reports “Over 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat,” and ” by middle school, 40-70 percent of girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body.”
Campaign directors are creating buzz for the movement by using bus and subway ads. Thankfully, the strategy is much different than the hard-edged, in-your-face posters used to push the oversized soda ban a few years ago. Instead of placards declaring, Are You Pouring On The Pounds – Don’t Drink Yourself Fat, ads for the NYC Girls’ Project show pictures of smiling happy girls of all races and sizes declaring, ” I’m a girl. I’m funny, playful, daring, strong, curious, smart, brave, healthy, friendly and caring.”
Ah, the weekend is upon us and it is time for a dose of healthy news. This week’s HealthBuzz is filled with buzzworthy headlines from DIR and our friends, like Shape, iVillage, Fitday. Plus, we offer some guilt-free comfort foods like 12 healthy pop-tart recipes from Undressed Skeleton.
Since Mayor Bloomberg proposed NYC’s soda ban a couple of months ago, citizens have been vocal about their support or opposition. As of Thursday morning, NYC approved the ban of sugared beverages over 16 ounces. But, Major Bloomberg and public health officials in NYC shouldn’t celebrate their victory just yet. There is a possibility that the soda industry plans to fight back. New Yorkers for Beverage Choices has already started campaigning in opposition of the ban.
Get ready to see calorie counts on McDonald’s restaurant and drive-thru menus. Wednesday morning the company announced that they will be posting their meals’ nutrition information on their menus. Do you think the nutrition information will change the eating habits of fast food customers? Our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, comments.
Yoga offers a great deal of health benefits, like less stress, toned body, and improved digestion. September is National Yoga Month, and our yoga expert Jill mentioned that those who practice yoga regularly may even see an increase in productivity at work. See what other benefits practicing yoga brings. (more…)
UPDATE: On Friday, October 12, the beverage industry and 11 other organizations filed a lawsuit against New York City challenging the recent soda ban, according to an article in The Washington Post. The lawsuit deals less with the ban itself and more with whether or not the New York City Board of Health had the right to pass the regulation in the first place.
A portion of the lawsuit reads: “The Board of Health’s decision nonetheless to ban certain sizes of sweetened beverages in certain outlets, imposed by executive fiat, usurps the role of the City Council, violating core principles of democratic government, and ignoring the rights of the people of New York City to make their own choices.”
The NYC Board of Health reportedly contends that it does, in fact, have the authority to create such a regulation that ‘promotes healthier living,’ and is poised to fight the lawsuit much like it battled chain restaurants in court over the issue of calorie labeling on menus. (10/15/12)
It seems the nation has been on high alert as the New York City soda ban vote inched nearer. As of Thursday morning, New Yorkers and their mayor Michael Bloomberg can take a deep sigh of relief as the wait is now over. The proposed amendment to ban the sale of sugary beverages exceeding 16 ounces has been approved by the city’s Board of Health.
The measure will take effect in six months unless overturned by a judge, which the soda industry has vowed to pursue. Those living in New York can expect to see their favorite sugary beverages available only in a 16 ounce size or smaller at businesses regulated by the city.
Bloomberg takes the health of his citizens seriously and has passed similar measures before, one being the initiative to place calorie counts on restaurant menus and another that limited the amount of trans fats food sold in the city could contain. Despite any resistance to Bloomberg’s past or current legislation positive changes have been made, so it’s no surprise that his most recent initiative was approved.
People are already turning to Twitter in response to the news.
NYC soda ban approved. Everyone go get a cheeseburger.
— Duke (@DukeStJournal) September 13, 2012
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) September 13, 2012
The trans fats ban of 2006 limited the amount per serving to less than 0.5 grams. Studies have since shown that the trans fat content of meals was reduced from 2.91 grams in 2007 to 0.51 grams in 2009. While a 2.4 gram reduction doesn’t sound like much of difference, even small progress is progress in the eyes of Bloomberg and his team.
Though the initiative to place calorie counts on menus wasn’t as successful- a reported 15 percent of diners now choose healthier options and consume 100 fewer calories on average per meal – the mayor’s commitment to building a healthier city seems to be unwavering. (more…)