Assemblyman Ortiz Praises Mayor Bloomberg’s Effort to Bar Food Stamp Recipients from Buying Soda

November 3, 2010
Albany – Assemblyman Felix. W. Ortiz (Brooklyn-51 AD), who has long been a leader in the fight against childhood obesity, is supporting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort in seeking federal permission to bar New York City’s 1.7 million recipients of food stamps from using them to buy soda or other sugared drinks.

Obesity is one of the biggest health issues facing Americans today. Americans are now consuming 200 to 300 more calories each day compared to our calorie intake 30 years ago. A majority of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. These drinks supply 10% to 15% of total daily calories, both in children and adults, while providing no nutritional value. In New York City alone, nearly 40 percent of children who are attending public schools and 57 percent of adults are either overweight or obese. Over the past 30 years, consumption of sugary beverages in the United States has more than doubled. “This is a disturbing and deadly trend,” said Ortiz.

New York State Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz has been a leader in the fight against obesity and poor nutrition. His trailblazing legislation in 2004 to require calorie information on fast food menus is now the law of the land and he created the New York State Childhood Obesity Prevention Program in 2003. Ortiz also fought to expand participation in the Food Stamp program and sponsored a law to make the application easier to use for families and seniors.

“We have a chronic epidemic regarding obesity. Nearly one in three children in our country is overweight or obese. We need to do everything in our power to work on preventing obesity and the rising healthcare costs associated with it,” said Ortiz. “Obesity-related illnesses cost New York State nearly $8 billion a year. Barring food stamp recipients from buying soda beverages can help them make healthier choices. Additionally, it also helps them save money on medical bills associated with hypertension or other obesity related illness,” said Ortiz.

Assemblyman Ortiz commends Mayor Bloomberg for pushing this proposal and keeping his promise to make New Yorkers’ health a priority.