Tackling the Sugar Epidemic with the American Heart Association and Health Advocates
The Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition identifies sugary drinks as one of the largest contributors to diet-related chronic diseases, which currently cost Minnesotans more than $3 billion each year in increased healthcare.
Sugary drinks are also the #1 source of added sugar in the US diet. Without action, 4 out of 10 youth today are likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
To combat growing concern around this issue, I recently introduced legislation (HF1307) to partner with restaurants to provide healthier meal options for children. The bill requires healthier options such as milk or water as default beverages instead of sugar-heavy drinks that exceed the sugar intake appropriate for minor consumption. It’s important to note that the legislation does not ban sugary items - it changes the default settings for what is included in a kids meal. Parental choice is still valued in this bill.
The provisions have strong public health support from 43 different organizations in Minnesota, including the American Heart Association, Allina Health, Minnesota Medical Association and Children's Hospital and Clinics. Similar bills have been passed in Delaware, Hawaii and California.
Yesterday, we had a hearing in the Preventative Health Committee about this bill, which is a step in the right direction to curb the sugar consumption trends in Minnesota. The legislation only received an informational hearing due to the pandemic and how hard this year has been on our small businesses. However, the bill will be re-introduced next year for a full vetting. You can watch the recorded version of the hearing here.