Council approves ordinance requiring city eateries to offer healthy beverages as default drink for kids’ meals

WILMINGTON– The Wilmington City Council approved an ordinance that now requires restaurants in the city to offer healthy beverages as the default drink included in kids’ meals sold at a single price.

“A major priority included in the Council’s strategic plan is to foster a healthy Wilmington,” said Councilman Vash Turner, 5th District, who sponsored the legislation. “What better place to focus that effort than on our children.”

Wilmington is the second city on the east coast (Baltimore was first) to enact the ordinance, which was inspired by a systematic review of interventions aimed at reducing the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.

“Attention to our personal health and certainly the needs of our children should be of utmost importance to all of us through the course of our lives,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki. “At the same time, making sensible nutritional choices can be confusing because we are exposed to so many influences regarding what we eat and drink. I applaud Council’s decision to focus on the issue of healthy beverages and hope that by widening the choices available to parents and their children, the result will be healthier families and lower health care costs.”

Studies have found a significant link between sugary drink consumption and weight gain in children. Soda and sugary beverages are the single largest source of calories in children’s diets and provide nearly half of kids’ added sugar intake.

“Reducing sugary drink consumption has enormous potential with respect to reversing the alarming trends of the past decades in type 2 diabetes, pediatric tooth decay, and the heart disease and risk.” said Dr. Robin Horn of the American Heart Association. “By swapping sugary drinks, which are too high in sugar for kids and are harmful to their health, with healthier options such as water, milk and 100% fruit juice we can help change the social norm,” said Dr. Horn.

The cities of Davis, Stockton, Berkeley, Long Beach, and Santa Clara County in California, and Baltimore in Maryland, have all adopted ordinances providing for healthy default beverages in restaurant children’s meals.

The legislation, Turner said, is not designed to be punitive and does not prohibit a restaurant’s ability to sell, or a customer’s ability to purchase a substitute or alternative beverage if requested by the customer.

The designation of particular beverages as children’s menu items helps to establish food norms for children, affecting their preferences and lifelong eating patterns.

“If we want to give our children a fighting chance at living healthy lives,” he added, “we have to get involved and encourage them to make healthier choices.”



Press Conference Scheduled


Friday, Oct. 5

9 a.m.


Inside the lobby of the City/County Building

800 N. French Street in Wilmington. 


Marchelle Basnight

Council Chief of Staff


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