Farley said sugary drink consumption may just be part of the U.S. obesity epidemic but that such products were the largest single source of sugar in the diet and had a major impact on health. Reducing obesity by just 10 percent in New York City would save about 500 lives a year, he added.

“It’s ridiculous to say we shouldn’t try something that’s only going to solve a portion of the problem,” he said at the event, which was sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a group that has long advocated against junk food…

Farley and other health advocates at the conference said they were confident that people over time would embrace smaller cup sizes as the right thing to do just as they eventually came around to bans on smoking in public places.

“If we can do that for …. tobacco, we can certainly do that for obesity as well,” Farley said.