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Cleveland City Council on Wednesday (7/29) passed a Kids' Meal ordinance that requires restaurants in the city to make it easier for parents and kids to make healthy choices by offering milk, water or 100% juice as the drink option when ordering a "children's meal".
Councilman Blaine A. Griffin, chair of the Health & Human Services Committee, sponsored this legislation and held a virtual press conference on the topic with representatives from the Ohio Restaurant Association, the Ohio Beverage Association and the American Heart Association.
While restaurants, including take-out, are required to do this, there is an exception that "upon customer’s request, a food service operation may sell, and a customer may purchase, a substitute or alternative beverage instead of the beverages offered." The legislation takes effect in six months.
"I, along with the Health and Human Services Committee and this 133rd Cleveland City Council are committed to eliminating health disparities in our community. It is imperative that we do whatever is necessary to mitigate the contributing factors to obesity and poor health conditions," said Councilman Griffin. "I also want to commend all of the partners who collaborated on this legislation. They worked together to make sure we put children and families first without tremendously impacting their industry.
According to the 2018 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey in Cleveland, 29.6% of children are overweight or obese and children and adults with obesity are at a greater risk for numerous adverse health consequences, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tooth decay and other debilitating diseases.
“Our member companies have a proven track record of working on real, tangible solutions to tough problems. And our experience collaborating with Councilman Griffin, our restaurant partners and Cleveland public health stakeholders demonstrates that working together leads to stronger policy," said Kimberly McConville, executive director of the Ohio Beverage Association. "We are grateful for the collaboration and chance to demonstrate our continued commitment to strong, healthier communities.”
According to the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, children consume 30 gallons of sugary drinks each year, which is 10 times the recommended amount. This is a problem across the nation with the US CDC reporting that the percentage of American children and adolescents considered obese has tripled since the 1970s.
"As a young person growing up in neighborhoods were sugary drinks are so readily available I saw the impact on my health and the health of my peers.," said Councilman Basheer Jones. "This is a collaborative effort between businesses, elected officials and community to make sure we are giving our parents and children the ability to make the best choices available. This effort is a collective one that I believe will have a positive impact on our citizens."
All can watch from YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/clevelandcitycouncil