MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Soft drinks are still on the kids’ menu at Dairy Queen. But come Sep. 1, the fast-food franchise will joins chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s in eliminating soda.
That doesn’t mean adults can’t order it for kids if they want. But for grandmother Jackie Preusse, just knowing the option isn’t listed is a huge relief.
“Once they see something, then that’s what they want, and then it’s really hard to say, ‘No, that’s not good for you,'” Preusse said.
Her three-year-old granddaughter, Ruby, has never tried soda. Her family hopes to keep it that way, even though a little treat after a day at the park is tradition.
“We’ve built a world for ourselves where sometimes those unhealthy decisions are actually easier to make than healthy decisions,” Dr. John Anderson, a Hennepin County Medical Center pediatrician, said.
He says the real enemy in soda is the high-sugar levels.
“We probably didn’t evolve to drink sugar,” Anderson said. “We evolved to maybe eat it and drink water.”
He says most kids have already developed their tastes for sweets by the time they are Ruby’s age.
While this small step leaves plenty of other unhealthy options in fast food, Dr. Anderson says it’s up to parents to keep asking for more of what’s healthy.
“If they couldn’t still sell kids’ meals, they wouldn’t make this change. And so I think what that tells us is that we’re moving in the right direction as a community,” Anderson said.
Different government data shows about a quarter of Minnesota adults self-reported as obese.
For children, Dr. Anderson says those rates are decreasing thanks to government programs that have taken things like soda out of schools.