Healthy Beverages for Children's Meals

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A boy drinks water from a glass at a restaurant.

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The Impact of Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks have a tremendous impact on children’s health. They increase the risk of preventable dietary-related chronic diseases, such as dental disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The American Heart Association recommends that children have no more than one 8-ounce sugary drink a week, but children are consuming as much as ten times that amount. Boulder County’s childhood obesity rates have increased by 43% since 2003. For a variety of reasons some communities within the county have been impacted more than others. Estimated annual healthcare costs from obesity in the United States are $190 billion and expected to rise, with taxpayers paying roughly 40 percent of that through Medicare and Medicaid.

The Proposed Ordinance

In an effort to reduce the negative impact of sugary drinks on children and create a more equitable environment, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH), St Vrain Healthy Kids, Healthy Longmont, and the City of Longmont are proposing an ordinance requiring restaurants to offer healthy beverages (water with no added sugar, or dairy milk or non-dairy milk substitute with no added sugar) as the default choice when advertising children’s meals on menus. This ordinance will NOT prohibit a restaurant’s ability to sell or a customer’s ability to purchase a different beverage.

To support restaurant compliance, BCPH will reimburse restaurants for reprinting menus, as well as provide guidance and assistance regarding questions and training materials for staff. The draft ordinance designates BCPH as the authority to investigate compliance. Further, the proposed penalties for violations of the ordinance are: first violation would result in a notice of violation; a second notice within a five year period from the first notice of violation would be sanction by a fine of not more than $250; and the fine for a third or subsequent violations within a five-year period would not be more than $500.

We Want Your Feedback

The City of Longmont is requesting input from restaurant owners and community members regarding the impact of this proposed ordinance on the restaurants that offer bundled children’s meals.

Ver este proyecto en español

The Impact of Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks have a tremendous impact on children’s health. They increase the risk of preventable dietary-related chronic diseases, such as dental disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The American Heart Association recommends that children have no more than one 8-ounce sugary drink a week, but children are consuming as much as ten times that amount. Boulder County’s childhood obesity rates have increased by 43% since 2003. For a variety of reasons some communities within the county have been impacted more than others. Estimated annual healthcare costs from obesity in the United States are $190 billion and expected to rise, with taxpayers paying roughly 40 percent of that through Medicare and Medicaid.

The Proposed Ordinance

In an effort to reduce the negative impact of sugary drinks on children and create a more equitable environment, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH), St Vrain Healthy Kids, Healthy Longmont, and the City of Longmont are proposing an ordinance requiring restaurants to offer healthy beverages (water with no added sugar, or dairy milk or non-dairy milk substitute with no added sugar) as the default choice when advertising children’s meals on menus. This ordinance will NOT prohibit a restaurant’s ability to sell or a customer’s ability to purchase a different beverage.

To support restaurant compliance, BCPH will reimburse restaurants for reprinting menus, as well as provide guidance and assistance regarding questions and training materials for staff. The draft ordinance designates BCPH as the authority to investigate compliance. Further, the proposed penalties for violations of the ordinance are: first violation would result in a notice of violation; a second notice within a five year period from the first notice of violation would be sanction by a fine of not more than $250; and the fine for a third or subsequent violations within a five-year period would not be more than $500.

We Want Your Feedback

The City of Longmont is requesting input from restaurant owners and community members regarding the impact of this proposed ordinance on the restaurants that offer bundled children’s meals.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Have a question about the Healthy Beverages for Children’s Meals initiative? Please ask your question here. Our team will review and respond during normal business hours, typically within 1-2 business days or a little longer if we need complete additional research to best answer your question. 


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    Why are we not addressing school lunch program? They offer sugar filled chocolate milk with EVERY meal they serve! This should be. Much higher priority than the once or twice a week time they eat out with their parents!

    Bec Harrell asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your question, Bec.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Food and Nutrition Service, administers the National School Lunch Program at the federal level. Local school authorities make decisions on the specific foods and meals prepared and served. Boulder County Public Health specifically looked at sugary drinks on Kids menus in restaurants based on alignment with national work through the American Heart Association and because Public Health licenses restaurants. For more information, you can reach out to Christina Edstrom at Public Health (cedstrom@bouldercounty.org).

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    Please send me a copy of the report detailing each establishment in Longmont that is offering a kids menu and what the default beverage is. The report should detail printed menus (in restaurant and mailed), menus in mobile apps, and menus found online.

    I don’t have a screen name asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for interest and request. 

    Boulder County Public Health gathered data on Longmont establishments for this initiative. Their staff will know what information has been collected and can be shared. I’d suggest contacting Christina Edstrom directly at cedstrom@bouldercounty.org.

Page last updated: 04 Aug 2021, 08:49 AM