Fast-Food Chains Make Changes to Promote Children’s Health

fast-food-chains-and-childrens-health-300x200You’ve no doubt seen several fast-food chains offer up more nutritional meal options lately, like McDonald’s and Subway who both have “fresh” or “fit” meal choices on their menus. However, some players in the industry have now introduced an even bolder idea for making their menus healthier, and it might actually make a difference in reducing the high child obesity and diabetes rates that plague North Americans.

If you are planning to pursue pharmaceutical training or clinical research training, you’ll want to keep tabs on this trend – and how changes to fast-food menus might even impact the business of drug discovery and development.

Changing the Fast-Food Game

It seems as though the fast-food industry has adopted a new trend – advocating for children’s health. Just this week Wendy’s has made the bold decision to remove soda as the default drink choice on children’s menus. Others like Subway, Chipotle, Arby’s and Panera have already made the change. Next up? Back in 2013, fast-food giant McDonald’s agreed to stop serving soda with its Happy Meals. While this has not yet been implemented, McDonald’s new policy is set to go into effect this year. If all of these fast-food chains have either already made the move to promote children’s health, or are about to implement new initiatives, perhaps other chains will follow suit – helping children gain access to healthier meal options.

What Will This Mean for Children’s Health?

The American Heart Association suggests that young children consume no more than three to four teaspoons of added sugar each day. Consuming massive amounts of sugar (which is found in soda) can lead to many future health problems, including diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. Students enrolled in clinical research courses know that a lot of time is spent researching and developing drugs to treat diseases like diabetes – which can in some cases be prevented by lifestyle changes, such as reducing sugar intake.

Studies have shown that currently, one out of every four children in Canada is overweight or obese. And as a result of this, children are increasingly being diagnosed with a wide range of health conditions. If parents continue to make healthy choices for their children, and if these children are no longer tempted to select drinks that are extremely high in sugar, diseases – like diabetes – can be prevented at the source, giving pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to redirect their focus to medical research for other, non-preventable diseases.

What do you think? Should kids have the freedom of choice to select soda if they want, or do we have a responsibility to guide them toward healthier alternatives?