New Subway Ads Show Human Fat on the Rocks

Highlighting the health impact of sweetened drinks

By Victoria Cavaliere
|  Monday, Aug 31, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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New Subway Ads Show Human Fat on the Rocks

NY DOH

It’s hard to overeat without noticing it. By contrast, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can sneak up on you, adding hundreds of calories to your diet each day without ever filling you up, the city campaign said.

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It might be one of the most disturbing --and unsavory -- images imaginable: a glass tumbler filled with human fat -- and it's coming to a subway car near you.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is rolling out subway billboards today that show a soda bottle pouring globs of yellow human fat, mottled with red blood vessels and served in a juice glass full of ice.

The campaign is an effort -- albeit disgusting -- to highlight the health impact of sweetened drinks, city health officials said.

"It’s hard to overeat without noticing it. By contrast, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can sneak up on you, adding hundreds of calories to your diet each day without ever filling you up," the Department of Health said in a statement.

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, according tot he DOH.

On average, Americans now consume 200 to 300 more calories each day than we did 30 years ago. Nearly half of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks, city health officials said.

"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.  It also encourages parents to serve their kids water or milk, not sports drinks, juices and sodas.

Disturbing health campaigns are nothing new from the health department. Previous campaigns included a woman who lost her fingers from smoking and a lost, crying child -- in another anti-smoking ad.

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