Despite the health-conscious focus of many Bloomberg-era initiatives, such as the ban on trans fats and the proliferation of bicycle lanes around the city, the New York Post reported last week that city residents are actually getting more obese.
Citing Health Department statistics, the Post said that nearly one in four adult New Yorkers is obese, compared to about one in five when Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, an increase of about 25 percent.
In addition to encouraging bike riding and other exercise, and banning the use of trans fats in food preparation, the city also began forcing fast food restaurants to post calorie counts for their products under Bloomberg.
But one anti-obesity initiative the mayor failed to enact was his plan to ban soda and other sugary drinks in sizes above 16 ounces in venues the city regulates. A court struck down that order, saying it was unfair because it would not apply to all retailers and that the administration overstepped its legal authority by trying to impose it without going to the City Council first. The city is appealing the ruling.
Just four days before the Post report, the city Health and Hospitals Corporation announced that fighting obesity would be the focus of its public health screenings this year. In Queens, one will be held at Queens Hospital Center from 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 9. Others will be held at Elmhurst Hospital Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 22, 24, 29 and 31, but will not include the same fitness tests offered at QHC. For more information, the city says to call 311.
A Republican organization that backs GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota but has no direct connection to his campaign has sued the state, seeking to break the $150,000 limit on what it can spend to support him.
The organization, the New York Progress abnd Protection Political Action Committee, argues that following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, which opened up spending on federal elections, it should be allowed to go above the limit set by New York State.
In response, the executive director of the city’s Campaign Finance Board said a ruling in the group’s favor would cause a “tidal wave” of special-interest spending to flow into the race.
“This lawsuit aims to change the rules of the game with less than six weeks left before the general election,” the director, Amy Loprest, said in a prepared statement. “If it is successful, we can expect a renewed tidal wave of corrosive, big-money special-interest spending by outside groups between now and November.”
Those who favor restrictions on campaign spending say advertising can unduly influence voters, while those who don’t say political ads consitute free speech.
Lhota’s opponent, Democrat Bill de Blasio, blasted the lawsuit in a solicitation for donations of $13 to his campaign.
New York’s police officers are getting cancer at far higher rates than they did before the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 released a wave of toxins into the air around Ground Zero in Manhattan, the Daily News reported Monday.
Citing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the paper said 57 police officers have died of cancer since the attacks, and about 500 have been diagnosed with the disease. About 50 officers have gotten thyroid cancer in the last 12 years, while before then, only five had it, the report said, according to NYPD figures going back to 1995.
The department’s chief surgeon, Dr. Eli Kleinman, told the media that while he doesn’t “want to be alarmist,” police officers should be checked for cancer, and not wait for the onset of symptoms.