Bloomberg leaves rich public health legacy in NYC

Updated at: 12/21/2013 11:56 PM

(AP) NEW YORK - NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Bloomberg steered New York City through economic recession, a catastrophic hurricane and the aftermath of 9/11, but he may always be remembered as the mayor who wanted to ban the Big Gulp.

After 12 years, Bloomberg leaves office Dec. 31 with a unique record as a public health crusader.

In his three terms he attacked cigarettes, artery-clogging fats and big sugary drinks with as much zeal as most mayors go after crack dens and graffiti.

Some of Bloomberg's initiatives led to criticisms that he was turning freewheeling New York City into a "nanny state."

But public health experts say he reshaped just how far a city government can go to protect people from an unhealthy lifestyle.

Several of the mayor's health programs later became national policy.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)