One more fast food chain may be dropping soda from its kid’s menus. Although Wendy’s has yet to confirm it, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reports that the fast food chain is removing soda as the default option in its kid’s meals. The move is praised by CSPI, MomsRising.org and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).
McDonald’s made a similar announcement in 2013, and its policy goes into effect this year. Subway, Chipotle, Arby’s and Panera Bread don’t include soda in their kid’s meals either. The ICCR filed a shareholder resolution last year with Wendy’s, but withdrew it when the company agreed to consider removing sodas from the kid’s menu.
“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.”
“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.”
The link between soda consumption and obesity More than a third of Americans are obese, and obesity-related conditions like heart attacks and diabetes are some of the leading causes of preventable death. The U.S. spends an estimated $190 billion a year treating obesity-related health conditions.
Sugary soft drinks are a prime culprit: Although it goes down easy, a 20-ounce soda has 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories. A 64-ounce soda might have up to 700 calories.
Studies have directly linked obesity to soda consumption. One study published in the Lancet specifically linked soda consumption to childhood obesity. Researchers studied 548 children, ranging in from 11 to 17 years old, in four Massachusetts communities for 19 months. What they found is that kids who drank sodas had larger body mass index (BMI) scores and higher obesity rates. In the words of the study, “Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with obesity in children.”