Today, the Philadelphia City Council passed legislation introduced by Councilmember Reynolds Brown (At-Large) that will require restaurants to make healthy drinks the default option for kids’ meal menus.
“Ensuring that these healthy beverage options are available to families is a step in the right direction toward the health and well-being of our City’s children,” said Councilmember Reynolds Brown.
According to this legislation, a restaurant that offers a children’s meal must first offer a healthy beverage choice, including water or nonfat milk, rather than the fruit-flavored drinks and sodas that typically come with the meals. Two-thirds of children in the United States consume at least one sugary beverage per day. And that adds up - 17% of calories consumed by American children and teens come from added sugars, early half of which comes from drinks alone.
“With one in five children impacted by obesity, we need to continue the proactive approach to improve health disparities seen in our city,” said Jacob Zychick, Community Advocacy Director of the American Heart Association.
“We believe this legislation is an important step to improve the healthy options that many families purchase in our city and would make the healthier choice the easier choice for many.”
Dwayne Wharton, Director of External Affairs for The Food Trust added, “More than any other food or beverage, sugary drinks make up 46% of our daily added sugar intake and are a major source of calories in our diets. Sugary drinks have little, if any, nutritional value and strong research shows that they are a major contributor to a host of poor health outcomes such as weight gain, obesity and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. The bottom line, most public health experts agree that sugary drinks contribute to the epidemic of diabetes and obesity in America today.”
Mayor Jim Kenney is expected to sign the legislation next week.