BROOKLYN - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal that would have banned the use of food stamps to purchase sugary drinks.

The USDA explained its decision by saying that the plan aimed at curtailing obesity, which was unveiled last October by then-Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.), was too large and complex.

Bloomberg says he is disappointed with the federal government's decision to put an end to the program that was meant to protect New Yorkers from diabetes and obesity. The mayor, however, says his administration will continue to pursue ways to combat health problems.

Associated Press reports contributed to this article.