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Wendy’s Makes a Major Move to Remove Soda From its Kid’s Menu and Help Combat Childhood Obesity

Published: 2/5/15
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Twitter Summary: Wendy’s gets rid of soda from its kid’s menu to help fight childhood #obesity, McDonalds already on board, will Burger King be next?

The fast food chain Wendy’s recently made the move to drop soda from its children’s menus, as announced in a statement by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). A soft drink option no longer appears on the kids’ menu inside the restaurants, at pick-up windows, or on the mobile app in both the US and Canada. Instead, Wendy’s kids’ menu boards now display images of other beverage options, including bottled water, 100% juice, and 1% white and chocolate milk. This new policy has been applauded by MomsRising.org, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), and the CSPI, all of which have argued that soda is not healthy for children and have urged the fast food chain to drop soft drinks from its kids’ menus.

Wendy’s is following a similar announcement by McDonald’s in 2013 to remove soft drinks from its Happy Meal menus, which is set to go into effect this year. In addition, Subway, Arby’s, and Chipotle also do not offer soda on their kids’ menus. This leaves Burger King as the only “Big 3” burger chain that still includes soda in its kids’ meals, although according to USA Today, the fast food outlet is contemplating a change in this policy.

We are glad to see the fast food industry moving to address the high intake of sugar, which is implicated in type 2 diabetes and obesity among Americans (see this scary Mayo Clinic report from January). Other initiatives, such as SugarScience or Berkeley’s  soda tax, are also focusing on limiting the consumption of added sugar and sweetened beverages. As the CDC reported, sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added calories in the average American diet, and another study found that sugar was uniquely linked to increased rates of type 2 diabetes. While sugar and sugary beverages are only one part of the larger battle against obesity, piloting these various solutions will be an important step in seeing what works and what programs are worth scaling up in the future. Next step, we’d love to see juice taken off as a choice in order to boost more water and milk drinking and still less sugar!  –LE/AJW

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