NEW YORK – Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the Hispanic Federation has “sold its soul” by joining a court fight against New York City’s size limit on sugary drinks.
On his weekly WOR Radio show Friday, Bloomberg also criticized the NAACP’s New York state branch. That group also is involved in the effort to block the rule from taking effect on March 12.
The groups say the measure will hurt minority-owned businesses while doing little to curb obesity.
“The Hispanic Federation has been a leader in advocating for increased healthy living and fitness opportunities for more than a decade and has organized annual health and fitness community events to directly combat obesity and other health issues impacting New York’s Latino community,” said José Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation, in a statement. ”We believe in a comprehensive attack on New York’s obesity crisis that stresses public school physical and health education and community wellness programs. Banning large sugary drinks in a selective fashion with tons of loopholes will do little to address obesity in the Latino community and will unfairly hurt small, minority-owned delis and bodegas. We should work together to solve this crisis by increasing funds for school and community health and fitness programs and by educating and empowering New Yorkers to make healthier lifestyle choices.”
Bloomberg said children who are the most obese tend to live in the city’s minority neighborhoods.
He asked how NAACP officials “can look at themselves in the mirror knowing they are deliberately hurting” the children’s life expectancy.
Kristina Puga contributed to this report.