Mayor Bloomberg has taken his mission to whip New Yorkers into shape to a new level, literally. At a press conference yesterday, Bloomberg announced his newest anti-obesity effort, which involves a series of initiatives designed to encourage New Yorkers to just take the damn stairs already. The Mayor himself told reporters that he leads by example, explaining, "I have five floors in my house, and I just take the stairs."

The first leg of the plan is the creation of the Center for Active Design, a non-profit organization that aims to change our urban environment to better fight obesity-related health problems. This means making stairways more aesthetically pleasing, as well as encouraging movement, not just inside but also around walkways and streets. "For years, architects and planners have been making it easier for people to be sedentary," said David Burney, the Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction.

The center's efforts will be helped by Bloomberg himself, who signed an Executive Order requiring all city agencies to use active design strategies in new construction and renovation projects. The Mayor also announced two planned pieces of legislation to promote stairway access in all buildings.

As many in attendance were quick to point out, unlike some of Bloomberg's previous crusades, the new initiatives are not forcing anyone to do anything. You're still free to take the elevator; no one will be standing by the doors with a pair of nun-chucks to ward you off. The plan is meant to merely encourage New Yorkers to be greener, healthier, and more active by making movement easier and more appealing. "It's not to change what you have to do, but to give you the idea and the impetus to do something that is in your own interest," he said.

Bloomberg even took the time to address some of his naysayers. "Somebody asked me the other day, isn't all this Nanny-State stuff hurting business? And I pointed out we have record number of companies moving here, we have record number of private sector jobs, we have record number of tourists coming here, we have record number of people living here," he said. "Stop me when you get bored." Or move to Mississippi.