The city of Chicago will ban restaurants from marketing unhealthy sugary drinks in meals for children in a bid to prevent illnesses stemming from poor eating habits.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health revealed the legislation at a meeting of the City Council on Wednesday.
“Children don’t need marketing that encourages unhealthy behavior—and parents don’t need extra pressure to serve their kids unhealthy food,” said Lightfoot said in press release.
“By banning such marketing while protecting parental choice, this ordinance will help empower parents to make the right choice for their families,” she added.
The new law will not ban parents from asking for the unhealthy sugary drinks for their children at restaurants, only that the businesses won’t be able to market them to children. The law says that restaurants can only pair children’s meals with “unsweetened still or sparkling water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or dairy and non-dairy milks that meet certain calorie requirements.”
Chicago health officials said that they hoped the bill will decrease sugar consumption that can lead to weight gain and tooth decay, especially among black and Latino children.
“The result over time can be increased chronic disease, the biggest cause of the nine-year life expectancy gap between Black and White Chicagoans,” said the release from the office of the mayor.
The release said that some children consume between two and three times the daily recommended amount of sugar, sometimes because of sugary drinks.
Obesity in the United States is a growing problem. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association documented from national data of people 18 to 25 that obesity increased more than five times its value of 6% in 1976 to 33% in 2018.