Children’s Meals in Restaurants
Families Need More Help To Make Healthy Choices
Article in Childhood Obesity by Margo G. Wootan, DSc, Volume 8, Number 1
Helping families make healthier choices when eating out is important because eating out is a growing and significant part of Americans’ diets and eating out is associated with obesity. Although a number of restaurants have announced improvements recently, many restaurant children’s meals remain high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium, and default options are often fries and sugary drinks. Behavioral economic interventions that make default options healthy make healthy choices easier and mean that individuals must actively work to engage in less desirable behaviors. Providing healthier default options for children’s meals supports parents by reducing barriers to feeding their children healthfully. This article outlines a number of ways to help families make the healthy choice the easy and the default choice for children when eating out.