Study: Kids' menus remain unhealthy at restaurants despite indus - WNEM TV 5

Study: Kids' menus remain unhealthy at restaurants despite industry push

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

The healthy eating trend has impacted many Americans' diets in recent years, but there's one crucial area that has remained largely unchanged - the kids' menu.

Despite an industry wide pledge in 2011 to make positive changes to the kids' menu, a new study shows those changes have been minimal if they were made at all.

"It used to be that there wasn't anything for kids to choose from, but now they have a lot," said Tracy Seeback, mother.

She said she likes to take her three kids to restaurants that have healthy options. That is a big reason why she likes going to Big Boy in Grand Blanc. They are part of the nationwide program called Kids Live Well.

"It's a healthier choice for children to choose from. They can order healthier stuff like broccoli and grilled chicken and stuff like that, instead of the fried stuff. We still have that available, but we have the healthy choices too," said Chip Wells, general manager for the restaurant.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found the program hasn't changed much in restaurants and isn't impacting how kids are eating.

Tracy Strieter, with Medical Weight Loss, said that's because parents need to start changing their children's eating habits at home first.

"We need to be role models for our kids and by role models I mean give them options, but give them healthy options. And let them decide and choose between the two healthy options," Strieter said.

The study showed part of the biggest problem with menu options are the drinks, which generally consist of 80 percent sugary drinks like soda.

Strieter said it is better to stick with water and to start your kids on healthy eating and drinking habits young.

Seeback said she is just thankful that some restaurants have taken the steps to offer healthier options for her kids and looks forward to more restaurants joining the herd.

"I think it's just better for kids to have more choices," Seeback said.

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