NY Daily News Article
The agency that brought you images of missing fingers and blackened lungs has a new health warning on tap - glasses filled with fat.
Billboards going up in the subway today show streams of sugary drinks turning into glistening yellow globs of human fat, mottled with blood vessels and served on ice.
It's disgusting. And that's the point, say Health Department officials who conceived the campaign to scare New Yorkers away from soda, sports drinks, bottled teas and other drinks with sugar in them.
"Just trying to be positive and encouraging doesn't always get people's attention," said Associate Commissioner Geoff Cowley.
"If you get in people's faces a bit, that does get people's attention."
The fat campaign aims to reduce obesity and diabetes by showing New Yorkers just how much sugar is in the drinks they grab off bodega and deli shelves.
A 20-ounce bottle of soda can contain 16.5 teaspoons of sugar, a 20-ounce lemon-flavored iced tea can have 14.5 tablespoons of sugar.
Even a 20-ounce bottle of a sports drink can have 7.5 teaspoons, the department says.
Agency officials hope New Yorkers - especially parents of young children and teenagers - will think twice and instead grab lowfat milk, a diet soda or just plain water.
"If you thought you were doing well because you weren't drinking a sugary soda, but you were drinking a lemon-lime drink and it turns out to have the same amount of sugar, that's shocking," said Cathy Nonas, the Health Department's director of physical activity and nutrition.
"These kinds of things are shocking to people," Nonas said. "In every age group, you see the increase in portion sizes and the number of servings."
Health surveys show between 21% and 29% of city teens drink soda daily, slurping down 360 calories that would take a 70-block walk to burn.
A companion video ad, set to be released in a few months, shows an actor pouring pure fat from a soda can into a glass - and then appearing to drink it.
"Are you pouring on the pounds?" the ad says. "Drinking one can of soda a day can make you 10 pounds fatter a year."
The ads come on the heels of other blunt city efforts to confront New Yorkers with the consequences of not following the department's health advice.
Its anti-smoking ads featured a man with a robotic voice who lost his real voice to cigarettes, as well as a woman who has lost fingers and toes in more than 20 amputations.
Next up are posters of smoke-scarred lungs that will be required to be displayed near cash registers where cigarettes are sold.
The Health Department spent $277,000 over the last three years to develop the fat campaign, using focus groups to decide that a sharp-edged approach was best.
An anonymous donor gave $90,000 to the department to post 1,500 ads in the subways for three months.
There are three different versions, each in Spanish and English, but all with the same lardy layout.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/08/31/2009-08-31_controversial_new_subway_billboards_show_human_fat_being_poured_out_of_soft_drin.html#ixzz0PmcVtjTP