PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia restaurants with children’s menus could soon be required to feature healthy beverages as the default drink option. City Council passed legislation Thursday introduced by councilmember Reynolds Brown as an attempt to combat childhood obesity.
The next step would be for Mayor Jim Kenney to sign it into law.
Under the bill, restaurants with children’s menus must first offer a healthy beverage option — such as water, nonfat milk or 100% juice — before sugary beverages like soda. The legislation does not prevent restaurants selling or customers from buying other types of beverages.
“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,” Brown said.
City data shows that about 41% of Philadelphia children between the ages of 6 and 17 are overweight or obese, which is 8% higher than the national average.
About 66% of American children drink at least one sugary beverage per day.
“With one in five children impacted by obesity, we need to continue the proactive approach to improve health disparities seen in our city,” American Heart Association Community Advocacy Director Jacob Zychick said. “We believe that this legislation is an import step to improve the healthy options that many families purchase in our city.”