Health advocates: Parents should encourage kids drink more water, less sugary drinks

Health advocates: Parents should encourage kids drink more water, less sugary drinks at home
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Supporters said a bill that was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month will impose a new rule on restaurants and serve as a reminder to parents.

The measure requires restaurants to serve water, white milk or juice as the default drink in kids meals. The law takes effect on Jan. 1.

Supporters said that will help keep kids away from sugary drinks that can be a hidden source of sugar.

Millicent Walker, executive director of Stonebridge Healthy Community Outreach Initiative in Hazel Crest, said the big chain restaurants are already in compliance.

She said the bill should help people to make healthier choices.

"This is legislation meant to motivate people into healthier behavior," Walker said.

Walker added that parents and the food industry have made strides in improving kids diets, but there's still a long way to go when it comes to healthy drinks.

"We simply don't have enough water ingested throughout the day. Especially in our children. A lot of the water fountains in schools are no longer available. Yes, they have moved the pops and things like that away, but a lot of the beverages are still high in empty calories," Walker said.