During an interview on CBS’ “This Morning,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces by arguing that it’s the role of government to “improve the health and longevity of its citizens.”

“[I]f government’s purpose isn’t to improve the health and longevity of its citizens, I don’t know what its purpose is,” the mayor said.

The proposed ban has been met with sharp criticism from pundits and businesses. Many feel that his health initiatives are overreaching and some have even dubbed Mayor Bloomberg “The Nanny.”

Its the Government’s Job to Improve Your Health: Bloomberg Responds to Nanny CriticsCenter for Consumer Freedom’s full-page New York Times ad

“We’re not here to tell anybody what to do. But we certainly have an obligation to tell them what’s the best science and best medicine says is in their interest,” Bloomberg said this morning on CBS.

“If you want to smoke, I think it’s pretty ridiculous, you shouldn’t. But I don’t think we should take away your right to smoke,” he added.

(Related: Cola Wars: Full-Page Ads in The New York Times Challenge & Mock Bloomberg’s Sugary Drink Ban)

The mayor went on to praise companies including Pepsi and Coca-Cola for understanding the necessity of informing people of the nutritional value of their products.

“Coke and Pepsi sell a lot of full sugar drinks, but they’re also focusing on smaller cans, Coke in particular. They’ve put calories on the front to try to tell you,” Bloomberg said.

It’s probably worth noting that Coca-Cola is one of the many companies publicly opposed the sugary drinks ban.

“Anything is OK in moderation,” Bloomberg said. “Maybe not smoking. But, a full-sugar drink, nothing wrong with it. It’s when you drink so much. And it’s not the only thing.

“We have gone to a society where everything is fast food, everything is high calories. The average person today is much heavier than they were. Airlines have a problem: Their customers can’t fit in the seats anymore.”

Bloomberg concluded: “Obesity is becoming the single biggest health problem in America and will kill more people than smoking in a few years.”