NEW YORK — Want to super-size that soda? In New York City you could be out of luck.
In his latest effort to fight obesity in this era of Big Gulps and triple bacon cheeseburgers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing an unprecedented ban on large servings of soda and other sugary drinks at restaurants, delis, sports arenas and movie theaters. Drinks would be limited to 16 ounces, which is considered a small at many fast-food joints.
"The percentage of the population that is obese is skyrocketing," Bloomberg said Thursday on MSNBC. He added: "We've got to do something."
It is the first time an American city has directly attempted to limit soda portion sizes, and opponents again accused the three-term mayor of creating a "nanny state" and robbing New Yorkers of the right to choose for themselves.
But city officials said they think the plan, expected to win approval from the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health and take effect as soon as March, will ultimately prove popular and push governments across the country to adopt similar rules.
The ban would apply only to sweetened drinks over 16 ounces that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces. (A 12-ounce can of Coke, for example, has about 140 calories.) It would not affect any drink that is at least half milk or milk substitute.