Proposed legislation aims to reduce sugary drink consumption among NYC youth
New York, NY August 8, 2018 — This afternoon, the New York City Council introduced new legislation (Int. 1064) that ensures that water, milk, 100 percent fruit juice and flavored water without added sweeteners are the preferred options for all restaurant kids’ meals offered in New York City. The American Heart Association supports this bill and applauds Council Member Ben Kallos for championing this issue. The Association is optimistic that the New York City Council will move quickly to approve it.
“As a mother who has fought a long battle with my weight, it’s important to me that my son lives a healthy life. That’s why I support the new City Council bill,” said Annabelle Jimenez, a mother from Queens and advocate for the American Heart Association. “I want my son and all kids in New York City to have a healthy future. Reducing the amount of sugary drinks they consume can help that future come true.”
“The new normal should be healthy meal and drink options for our children no matter where they are eating,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, the sponsor of the legislation. “If we get this part down, every food establishment serving kids will make it much easier and simpler to raise happy healthy children.”
“Improving healthy options on restaurant menus can help improve diet quality and cultivate lifelong healthy eating behaviors,” said LeWanza Harris, MD, MPH, American Heart Association NYC Board Member and Family Medicine Physician at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Kids in our city drink too much sugar and one of the major contributing factors is the overconsumption of sugary drinks served with children’s meals in restaurants. I support this bill aimed at empowering parents and helping children grow up at a healthy weight.”
“The American Heart Association recommends that children over the age of two have no more than one 8-ounce sugary drink a week,” says John Rausch, MD, MPH, spokesperson for the American Heart Association and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Yet, children today are consuming as much as 10 times that amount. The New York City Council can help reverse these trends by requiring restaurants to make healthy drinks like nonfat milk and water the norm on children’s menus.”
A 2017 Global Strategy Group survey commissioned by the American Heart Association found that New Yorkers expressed nearly universal support (94 percent) for making the food and beverage options on children’s menus healthier. The survey concluded that NYC voters are strongly in favor (87 percent) of making healthy drinks like water and low-fat milk the default drink option on children’s menus.
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