Nadeau Bill Gives Kids Healthier Beverage Options
Bill makes healthy choices like water, milk, and 100% fruit juice the default beverage option for kids meals
WASHINGTON – The healthy beverage choice will be an easy choice for kids and parents under a new bill introduced today by Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau. The Healthy Beverages for Kids Meals Act of 2018 aims to reduce childhood obesity by making healthy choices like water, milk, and 100% fruit juices the default beverage option for all restaurant’s kids’ meals in Washington, DC. Families would still be able to order other beverage items upon request at restaurants. The bill is co-introduced by Councilmember David Grosso and is supported by the American Heart Association.
“This legislation will help kids make healthier choices and develop healthful habits,” said Councilmember Nadeau. “Kids in the U.S. consume 19 teaspoons of added sugar daily, much of it from sugar-sweetened drinks. This bill helps make the healthy choice the easy choice, while still allowing parents to order their kids soda or other beverages upon request.”
A national survey showed that one-third of U.S. children and adolescents consume fast food on a given day. Sugary drinks, which are too high in sugar for kids and are harmful to their health, are often served as the automatic drink with kids’ meals. The American Heart Association recommends that children over the age of two drink one eight-ounce sugary drink a week, yet research indicates kids consume up to ten times that amount. The USDA estimated that children 2 to 19 years old, on average, consume one-quarter of their calories from restaurants and other food-service establishments. Improving healthy options on restaurant menus can help improve diet quality and cultivate healthy eating behaviors, which can help children grow up at a healthy weight.
This bill will also help address health inequity. Today, children in low-income communities and children of color are more likely to live with the burden of unhealthy weight. These same communities are more exposed to fast-food companies. Evidence demonstrates that fast-food marketing disproportionately affects low-income, black, and Hispanic youth, who are also at greater risk for chronic disease due to diet.
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A copy of the introduced legislation is below.