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Should NH require restaurants to offer healthier drinks - not soda - with children's meals?

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Rep. Rebecca McBeath is sponsoring a 2018 bill that would prevent restaurants from offering soda as part of children's meals.

The bill states:

"the beverages offered shall be limited to milk or a non-dairy milk alternative, 100 percent juice or fruit juice combined with water or carbonated water with no added caloric sweetness, water, sparkling water, or flavored water with no added natural or artificial sweeteners."

If a customer requests a soda for a child, the restaurant may provide the soda separately.

Supporters of the bill point out that soda and other sugary drinks contribute to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. If children are encouraged to choose healthier beverages, it will improve their health in the short and long term.

Many major restaurant chains - including McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, and Applebee's - have voluntarily committed to removing soda as the default choice for children's meals.

Opponents of the bill argue it is a perfect example of "nanny state" legislation. Parents already have the power to choose what their children order from restaurants, so there is no reason to take away options.

Opponents also argue that if restaurants are voluntarily removing soda from children's meals, there is no reason for government to intervene.

Do you think New Hampshire should only allow restaurants to offer health drinks with children's meals? Let us know in the comments below.


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This is classic government overreach. It should be left up to parents to decide what their children are allowed to eat. Businesses will do what customers demand, and if enough parents lobby for healthy default options for child meals, restaurants will surely respond. Leave the "nanny state" out of it!

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