NEW YORK — Applebee’s and IHOP have removed soft drinks from their children’s menus.
“While soft drinks are still available by request, we believe this is a small step in assisting parents when dining out, as parents are in the best position to determine the appropriate food and beverage choices for their children,” said Tom Linafelt, spokesman for DineEquity, the holding company that owns both chains.
The move is the latest to trim back on soft drink consumption by children. Many school districts have pulled soda machines from school cafeterias and menus. In June McDonald’s told the Associated Press that for the first time less than half of the children’s Happy Meals it sold contained sodas, falling to 48 percent in the most recent period from 56 percent a year earlier.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and more than quadrupled for adolescents in the last 30 years, and that roughly one in five in both age groups are now classified as obese.
Applebee’s made the change in their menus in August; IHOP in November. Both chains serve Pepsi products. Pepsi did not respond to a request for comment.