NYC Health Department: 'Don't Super-Size Yourself'

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Amputations? Linked to my soda size? Yes, you got my attention. (It may not jump out at you, but the man in the poster to the left is missing the lower half of his leg.)

The ever-innovative — and sometimes controversial — New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has just launched a new series of posters aimed at calling public attention to the insidious up-creep of portion sizes in recent years. The department writes:

“The portion sizes that are marketed are often much more than humans need,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley “We are warning people about the risks of super-size portions so they can make more informed choices about what they eat. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, which greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. If New Yorkers cut their portions, they can cut their risk of these health problems.”

The New York Times reports here on the new poster campaign, and includes a beverage industry response:

But the American Beverage Association, which represents sellers of sodas in cans and bottles and at fountains, countered that the health department was oversimplifying the connection between serving sizes and obesity.

“Portion control is indeed an important piece of the solution to obesity,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for the association. “But instead of utilizing scare tactics, the beverage industry is offering real solutions like smaller portioned containers and calorie labels that show the number of calories in the full container, right up front, to help people choose products and sizes that are right for them and their families.”

A couple more posters, kindly provided by the NYC health department:

This program aired on January 11, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.