Chicago to Only Allow ‘Healthy Beverages' to Be Paired with Kids' Meals at Restaurants, New Ordinance Says

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Chicago restaurants will be required to only market "healthy beverages" with kids' meals across the city, according to a new ordinance from City Council.

At a City Council meeting Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health introduced the legislation, which requires that strictly healthy, non-sugary beverages be paired with kids' meals at restaurants.

“Children don’t need marketing that encourages unhealthy behavior—and parents
don’t need extra pressure to serve their kids unhealthy food,” Lightfoot said in a release. “By banning such marketing while protecting parental choice, this ordinance will help empower parents to make the right choice for their families.”

Under the ordinance, beverage standards allow for unsweetened still or sparkling water; 100% fruit or vegetable juice; or dairy and non-dairy milks that meet a calorie requirements in kids' meals.

The ordinance noted that parents may ask for sugary drinks instead of the options offered, which was intended to preserve consumer choice. The new legislation will enable local implementation of the Serve Kids Better Act.

According to Chicago health officials, the ordinance aims to combat citywide increased sugar consumption, specifically among Black and Latino children, which they said leads to tooth decay and weight gain.

"The result over time can be increased chronic disease, the biggest cause of the nine-year life expectancy gap between Black and White Chicagoans," a release said.

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