Michael Bloomberg Addresses UN General Assembly
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on governments to do more to prevent chronic diseases in an address at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
The two-day summit focused on noncommunicable diseases like cancer, diabetes as well as heart and lung disease. A spokesman for Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the General Assembly, said the Mayor of New York City had been invited to speak because of his “projects dealing with noncommunicable diseases and their causes,” reported the New York Times.
Speeches given during the summit focused on highlighting risk factors for noncommunicable diseases, observing that lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol abuse, and diets high in sugar, salt and saturated fats had all contributed to increasing health problems and health care costs in developed countries.
"To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option," said Bloomberg as he urged governments to impose taxes and bans instead of relying on change at the individual level.
Citing his efforts to curb smoking and improve nutrition in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg told the summit, “In today’s world, healthy solutions are not necessarily costly solutions. Far from it. New York’s Smoke-Free Air Act, our restrictions on trans fats and our requirements concerning calorie posting in restaurants cost virtually nothing in public money to put into effect. And cigarette taxes raise public revenues.”
He also referenced citywide policies to improve public health saying these measures had helped to increase the life expectancy of New Yorkers by more than 1.5 years.
This was Mayor Bloomberg’s fifth address at the United Nations.