Added by Monique Robinson on October 9, 2010
In an effort to control obesity in the United States, Michael Bloomberg and David Paterson, the Mayor and Governor of New York, requested the U.S. government to ban food stamps used for buying sugary fruit drinks and soda.
They regarded these sugar beverages as the largest contributor to obesity. Food stamps are vouchers issued by the federal government and currently used by 42 million Americans in the low-income group to purchase food. 1.7 million residents of New York receive food stamps.
An alarming 40 percent of children in the public schools of New York are obese. Overall, the rates are 30 percent in poor households and 17 percent in the more well-to-do households. The state and the city jointly stated that it cost nearly $8 billion per year in medical expenses to treat obesity caused diseases.
Paterson also proposed to impose a tax on sweetened drinks. But this was negated by the state legislature under pressure from the beverage companies lobby.
Reuters quoted The American Beverage Association criticism of the food stamps ban proposal as “just another attempt by government to tell New Yorkers what they should eat and drink, and will only have an unfair impact on those who can least afford it”.
Food stamps are issued and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They said that they will “review and consider” the proposal from New York.