Citing rising obesity rates and healthcare costs, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino issued an executive order to phase out sugary drinks on all City-owned property within the next six months.
The order would be "requiring City departments to take steps in the next six months to phase out the sale, advertising, and promotion of sugary beverages on City-owned property."
“Now is the time to expand our efforts that began in our public schools and set an example for the city as a whole,” Mayor Menino said, referring to the 2004 ban on soda and junk food in vending machines in Boston Public Schools. “I want to create a civic environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice in people’s lives, whether it’s schools, worksites, or other places in the community.”
The Mayor will sign the executive order today, and during the next six months the City will work to remove drinks such as sodas, fake fruit drinks, and energy drinks like Gatorade, for things that are healthier like milk, flavored waters, or juices.
Drinks such as diet sodas, diet iced teas, 100 percent juices, low-calorie sports drinks, low-sugar sweetened beverages, sweetened soymilk and flavored, sweetened milk, will be allowed to be sold. Other items that the termed “green beverages", such as bottled water, flavored and unflavored seltzer water, low-fat milk, and unsweetened soymilk can continue to be sold.
The Boston Public Health Commission reports that about 63 percent of black adults, 51 percent of Latino adults, and 49 percent of white adult residents in Boston are considered overweight or obese.
The City will be working with vendors who the City has contracts with to change the selection of their drinks at places like the eighth floor deli in City Hall, or at vending machines outside of local fire and police departments.