TOLEDO – The city council decided last month to approve a measure aimed at making healthy drinks like water, low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice. These are the standard options for children’s meals in the restaurant.
“Today’s council vote recognizes the serious health effects of child sugar consumption,” said Sara Hegarty, executive director of the Northwest Ohio American Heart Association. “The average kid in America consumes 30 gallons of sugary drinks a year, which is enough to fill a bathtub and 10 times the recommended amount.”
She said studies show that drinking sugary beverages can lead to many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and tooth decay. In areas with limited access to grocery stores and nutritious meals, restaurant meals are a major source of daily calories, Hegarty said.
“Sugary beverages are the main source of added sugar in the American diet and play an important role in childhood obesity. Reducing the amount kids consume gives them the healthy start they need, ”she said. “Making healthy choices an easy choice in restaurants is a win for Toledo children and families.”
There will be a six month implementation period to give restaurants and other businesses time to adjust menus and train staff. While restaurants must offer healthy selections as a drink option with kids’ meals, parents still have the option to request other drinks from the menu.