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Local Health Official Weighs In On NYC’s Sugary Drink Ban

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSPittsburgh.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSPittsburgh.com/Health

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dr. Ron Voorhees, the acting director of the Allegheny County Health Department, stood outside his office with a bottle of pop in his hand to show us how drink sizes have gotten bigger over the years.

“We used to think this would be a big bottle,” he said. “Now, it’s considered a small bottle.”

He says he’s concerned about obesity and says sugary drinks definitely contribute to the problem, but says a ban like New York City’s, isn’t really his department’s style.

New York has decided that most places that prepare food can longer sell sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The ban will take effect in March unless it’s stopped.

Restaurants must obey the ban, but convenience stores such as 7-11 are not affected.

Pittsburghers in Market Square were divided over whether a ban is the right way to deal with the obesity problem.

Rhonda Zegarelli, of Dowtown Pittsburgh, believes people should avoid the super-sized sugary drinks, but she says, “I think it’s a personal decision, so I don’t think they should ban it.”

On the other hand, Anthony Walker, from Sheraden, would like to see a similar ban here. “Hopefully, they’d do it here, too.”

Dr. Voorhees says they use approaches other than bans, but says he’ll be watching what happens in New York City. And he says if the ban works really well there, “that could be considered here.”

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