US: ABA takes aim at New York's "misleading" obesity ads

By | 4 June 2013

The ABA is locked in a court battle with New York authorities

The ABA is locked in a court battle with New York authorities

The American Beverage Association (ABA) has accused New York City's authorities of misleading the public after it launched a new campaign warning against high sugar levels in fruit juices, energy drinks, sweet teas and sports drinks.

The ads, which launched yesterday (3 June), encourage New Yorkers to swap these drinks for water or fresh fruit and show a patient with amputated toes and a surgeon picking at a diseased heart. The TV ad can be viewed below. 

The campaign comes as the ABA and the city's administration prepare to head back to court over a proposed ban on large sugary beverages.

"Once again, the New York City Health Department is oversimplifying the complex set of factors behind obesity,” the ABA said today in a statment. “Selectively picking out common grocery items like sugar-sweetened beverages as a cause of obesity is misleading.”

The ads are the latest in the New York City Health Department's “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign, which targets high-sugar drinks.

Meanwhile, the ABA said it remains “confident” it will overturn the proposed ban on high sugar drinks, which was thrown out by a judge the day before it was due to take effect in March. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who initiated the ban, successfully appealed that decision and the two groups have been summoned for oral arguments next Tuesday.

“We look forward to the appellate court decision,” the ABA said.

Expert analysis

Carbonates in the US

Health and wellness is a growing factor in consumer purchasing decisions as two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. Obesity is a growing danger in the US and there has been an attempt to prevent it from a younger age. The launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign in 2010 is one such program that targets stopping obesity through building healthy habits. One of the strategies to combat childhood obesity is to eat healthy and reduce the amount of sugar and calories.

Sectors: Corporate social responsibility (CSR), Soft drinks

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