DEPUTY Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley and I were recently joined by Weight Watchers President Dave Burwick to announce Weight Watchers’ support for the city’s plan to limit the size of sugary drinks sold at food service establishments to 16 ounces or less.

Sugary beverages are a leading driver of the obesity epidemic, which is worsening around the country.

The proposal will be voted on by the New York City Board of Health on Sept. 13.

Nearly 60 percent of New York City adults and 40 percent of children are overweight or obese and one in eight adult New Yorkers has diabetes.

The city also released statements of support from weight loss experts, including the creator of the Best Life Diet, the creator of the South Beach Diet, the CEO of Jenny Craig, the creator of the Dukan Diet and the creator of Picture Perfect Weight Loss.

I made the announcement at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, a Make NYC Your Gym location, where I was joined by Weight Watchers member and Queens resident Rachelle Conley who recently lost 91 pounds and attributes much of her successful weight loss to ending her consumption of sugary drinks, as well as Council Member Gale Brewer.

It’s time to face the facts: obesity is one of America’s most deadly problems, and sugary beverages are a leading cause of it.

As the size of sugary drinks has grown, so have our waistlines — and so have diabetes and heart disease.

As weight-loss experts can attest, men and women struggle every day to lose weight, or even to just not gain a few pounds — and portion control is key to success.

Our proposal for reasonable portion sizes won’t prevent anyone from buying or drinking as much soda as they want, but it will help people keep from inadvertently taking in junk calories simply because the small drink they ordered was actually very large.

Obesity and being overweight is a rapidly growing and major public health problem that, according to the World Health Organization, accounts for the death of at least 2.8 million adults each year.

In the United States, obesity is a leading cause of preventable death, second only to smoking.

New York City is not exempt from this crisis: 5,800 New Yorkers die annually as a result of obesity and one in eight adult New Yorkers now has diabetes.

By borough, the combined overweight-obesity rates are: 69.7 percent in the Bronx, 61.8 percent in Staten Island, 60.3 percent in Brooklyn, 57.2 percent in Queens and 47.4 percent in Manhattan.

And despite recent progress with childhood obesity, 20.7 percent of New York City children grades K-8 are obese.

New York City’s portion size proposal — which will be voted upon by the Board of Health on Sept. 13 — would limit the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces or less at restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas.

Sugary drinks are high in calories, served in large sizes and yet deliver no nutritional value.

They do not create a sensation of fullness, so people typically do not cut back on other calories when they consume extra calories through sugary drinks.

The long-term weight gain and increased risk of diabetes and heart disease associated with sugary drinks has been documented.

In 2010, experts from Harvard University and three other leading nutrition research institutions in the United States and Canada concluded that because sugary drinks are important contributors to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, consumption “should be limited and replaced by healthy alternatives such as water.”

In addition to limiting the size of sugary drinks, New York City has a comprehensive approach to changing its food and exercise environment and is committed to increasing awareness among New Yorkers about good nutrition, healthy food options and exercise opportunities — such as Make NYC Your Gym and BeFitNYC — as well as improving the availability of healthy food and educating New Yorkers about the importance of a healthy diet.

New Yorkers looking for free and low-cost fitness opportunities can go to and search BeFitNYC to help find the right activity for them.

It lists programs, classes, facilities and leagues in the Parks Department’s properties, as well as those of a number of partner groups.

Regular physical activity helps people maintain weight loss.