Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-10-2010


The ‘obesity’ epidemic has The health of New York City Residents has been a significant concern of public health officials with the rates of obesity and diabetes ranking eighth of all cities nationally. The New York City (NYC) Board of Health laid the foundation and influenced the legislative efforts of means to address the ‘obesity-diabetes’ epidemic for public health officials consider this to be one of the major health concerns among Americans and particularly NYC residents. The major initiatives implemented by NYC official include: (1) a ban on trans-fat (2) a city registry of those with diabetes, and (3) menu-labeling. The latter is a notable and controversial policy has been the enactment of Article 81.50 of the NYC Health Code (calorie labeling law) first proposed in July 2007, and currently requires nearly 30% of food establishments across NYC to list calorie information on all menu boards.

The present study is a critical policy analysis exploring dynamic and unique way municipal power has been used to address the obesity-diabetes epidemic while also evaluating the impact on consumers and fast food producers. The data used in this policy review include interviews with key informants such as the Manhattan Borough President's liaison, NYC public health officials, and corporate interests representatives official policy review. Secondary sources include raw and analyzed data reports received directly from the Department of Health and Department of Finance, policy reports and peer-reviewed studies assessing the effectiveness of the use of calorie labeling law beyond that of NYC. Low-income neighborhoods are the battleground for polarized debates over conflicting policies proposed by State and City government officials, such that government subsidies provided by NYC Department of Finance ‘financial stimulation programs’ that then impede on public health efforts as such programs encourage 'unhealthy, fast food' establishments to populate areas with highest rates of poverty, obesity and diabetes. Thus, illustrating that financial growth has been prioritized over the wellbeing of marginalized populations. Such findings offer insight into the numerous and specific cultural, political, and economic obstacles are revealed all of which impede on the effectiveness of the legislation Article 81.50 (calorie labeling law) and perpetuate social inequality.


This is not published in a journal but rather was presented at a professional conference (Society for the study of Social Problems,2010)



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