Names in the news, July 4

Posted July 03, 2012, at 5:10 p.m.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who wants to limit restaurant sales of sugared drinks to 16-ounce cups as part of his anti-obesity campaign, welcomed competitors in Nathan’s Famous Inc.’s Fourth of July hotdog-eating contest to a City Hall weigh-in Tuesday. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, 28, who in 2009 set a record at the Coney Island boardwalk tube-steak emporium for devouring 68 hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes, stood 6-foot-1 and weighed 210 pounds. The female record-holder, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, 44, who consumed 41 in 2009, tipped the scales at 100 pounds on her 5-foot-5 frame. Bloomberg, 70, who has sampled the wares of several sidewalk hot dog vendors in his 10 years as mayor, emceed the weigh-in for 29 contestants at an annual ceremony in City Hall Park. Monday, he touted a nutrition program that would make discounts on fruit and vegetables more available to food-stamp recipients. Hot dogs — Nathan’s says they contain 297 calories each — are acceptable once in a while, he said. “Having it occasionally is fine,” Bloomberg said Monday of high-calorie fast food. “If you want to eat 65 hot dogs in 10 minutes, that’s even fine; just don’t do it more than once a year and you won’t have a problem. There’s nothing wrong about most things in moderation.” In May, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington-based nonprofit, told President Barack Obama to stop eating hot dogs in front of news cameras, saying “processed meats like hot dogs kill more Americans each year than tobacco does, and they cost taxpayers billions of dollars in health care.” The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, a Washington-based industry group, estimates that Americans eat about 20 billion hot dogs a year. The name hot dog came from people joking about how they didn’t know what meat went into them, said Bruce Kraig, author of “Hot Dog, A Global History.

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