A new study by the University of Connecticut Rudd Center evaluated whether top fast-food restaurant chains in the U.S. have implemented healthier kids’ meal default policies. Since 2013, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Wendy’s, KFC, and Dairy Queen have pledged to remove sugar-sweetened fountain drinks from menu boards and/or offer healthier drinks and side dished with kids’ meals. The study was funded by Healthy Eating Research.

Key results of the study include:

  • Kids’ meal menus posted on restaurant chains’ websites in 2016 consistently reflected their healthier kids’ meal pledges.
  • Individual restaurants at all chains consistently listed healthier drink options on kids’ meal menu boards inside the restaurants in 2016. However, not all restaurants removed sugary soda and other soft drink options from kids’ meal menu boards.
  • The majority of restaurants visited listed at least one healthier side option on kids’ meal menu boards, but restaurant chains varied widely in how often personnel offered healthier sides with kids’ meal orders.
  • Restaurants with publicly available healthier kids’ meal policy statements were more likely to offer healthier drinks and sides with kids’ meal orders.

While these results show that progress has been made, this progress has been inconsistent and additional work is needed to encourage restaurants to provide and promote healthier kids’ meals. Continued evaluation of restaurants’ voluntary pledges and implementation is important. Learn more by reading the full report or two-page summary, available at: http://www.uconnruddcenter.org/healthierkidsmeals