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caption: Washington State Legislature in Olympia.
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Washington State Legislature in Olympia.
Credit: Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Milk or water? WA state lawmakers consider banning sugary drinks from kids menus

The next time you order a kids meal, the drink choices may not include soda or juices. Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill that would make milk, milk alternatives, or water the default beverages.

Supporters contend House Bill 2383 would help parents make healthy choices easier and reduce childhood obesity.

Miranda Davis, a dentist, said she sees the negative effects of sugar. Davis said during a House Committee on Local Government hearing Wednesday that as a parent, it’s easy to encourage kids to drink healthier beverages when the sugary ones are out of sight. But that’s harder to do when dining at a restaurant.

“Parents shouldn’t be put in that position,” Davis said. “We need restaurants to be our partners on this.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects one in five children in the U.S.

Brad Boswell of the Washington Beverage Association said the industry supports the bill’s intent, but would like to include additional choices. “We would like you to also consider adding 100% juice and flavored milks to the default options.”

When asked whether these drinks might be healthy options, health professionals at the hearing responded that they are not because of their high added sugar content.

A similar bill is under review in the Senate on Long Term Care Committee.