Wendy’s has agreed to remove sugary soda from its children’s menus. The move, which is already in effect, was hailed by MomsRising.org, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, all of which have been urging the chain to improve the nutritional quality of its kids’ meals by removing soda from the kids menu. McDonald’s agreed in 2013 to drop soda from its Happy Meal menus. McDonald’s policy goes into effect this year, leaving Burger King as the only Big 3 burger chain still with soda in meals specifically intended for children. Subway, Chipotle, Arby’s, and Panera also do not include soda as the default option in their kids’ meals.
The groups say that soda is not an appropriate beverage choice for children, given that sugary drinks contribute to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, tooth decay, and other health problems in children and adults. Drinking just one additional sugary drink every day increases a child’s odds of becoming obese by 60 percent, according to research published in The Lancet.
“While parents bear most of the responsibility for feeding their children well, restaurant chains also need to do their part,” said CSPI senior nutrition policy counsel Jessica Almy. “Restaurants should not be setting parents up for a fight by bundling soda with meal options designed for kids. Wendy’s is taking a responsible step forward that will improve children’s health and make it easier for parents to make healthy choices for their children. We hope Burger King, Applebee’s, IHOP, and other chains follow suit.”
“Ensuring that our children can make healthy choices is an important part of raising them,” said MomsRising Executive Director and CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “When restaurants offer up sugary drinks as the default choice, it undermines those efforts. MomsRising and its members are delighted that Wendy’s is now supporting parents in encouraging children to make healthy food choices.” More