Applebee's and IHOP are the latest fast food eateries to take soft drinks off of their kids menus, Consumerist reports. A representative for DineEquity, the parent company of Applebee's and IHOP, confirmed the change on Tuesday.
The new policy means parents will have to request soft drinks for their children from the regular menu, rather than ban soda for children. The DineEquity representative explained that the move is meant to assist parents "to determine the appropriate food and beverage choices for the children."
The Center for Science in the Public Interest and other consumer groups praised the decision as a step in the right direction for improving children's health.
“Soda and other sugar drinks promote diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and even heart disease, and a kids’ menu is no place for disease-promoting drinks,” said CSPI nutrition policy counsel Jessica Almy. “Kudos to Applebee’s for taking this important step to promote children’s health. Other sit-down chains such as Chili’s should follow Applebee’s lead.”
The Food Justice campaign from MomsRising.org also expressed approval of the decision but called for further action to provide healthy food options to America's children.
“While we are encouraged by DineEquity and other restaurants taking this important step, we are still reaching for a future where restaurants do even more to offer healthy options for children and adults by serving whole grain rolls, providing more fruit and vegetable options, reducing sodium across the menu, and adopting a comprehensive policy to limit the marketing of unhealthy food to children,” the group said in a statement.
The two restaurant chains join Burger King, Dairy Queen, McDonald's and Wendy's, among others, in removing sugary drinks from their children's menus.