Kids’ fast-food meals getting healthier but more progress needed

Fast food restaurants in the U.S. are increasingly offering kids’ meals with healthy sides and drinks, but healthier options are not typically the default, according to new research.

The researchers looked at 20 popular fast food chains from 2004 to 2015 and found that the restaurants were making progress in including options such as fruit, non-fried vegetables, and healthier drinks in their kids’ meals. By 2015, 30% of the restaurants were offering healthier choices as the default option in the kids’ meal bundles.

In a January 9, 2019 Reuters article, Sara Bleich, professor of public health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the study, said that the healthier options on kids’ menus is a positive trend. But she added that the vast majority of children don’t eat from the children’s menu. “To meaningfully promote healthier eating, it is critical to encourage and track changes across the entire menu,” she said.

Read the Reuters article: U.S. fast food chains offering more healthy options for kids

Learn more

Choosing healthy fast-food options (Harvard Chan School news)