New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Crain's New York City Council approves bill targeting sugary drinks by JONATHAN LAMANTIA

City Council approves bill targeting sugary drinks

The City Council on Thursday voted to make low-sugar drinks the default beverage in children's meals at restaurants citywide in an effort to curb childhood obesity and diabetes.

If signed into law by the mayor, chain restaurants must offer water, low-fat milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice as the standard option rather than sodas or other drinks with added sugar.

Restaurants that disobey the law would be subject to monetary penalties.

Public health advocates and the city Health Department supported the bill during a City Council hearing last month. The Health Department has described reducing the consumption of sugary beverages as a top agency priority. Nearly 1 in 5 children ages 6 to 19 are obese citywide.

"We know this change will do a lot to keep sugary drinks away from our children, helping them avoid childhood obesity and grow up to be healthy adults," Councilman Ben Kallos, the bill's sponsor, said in a statement.

Separately, the council approved a bill that would allow for the removal of a physician's name from a patient's birth certificate if the doctor's license has been surrendered or revoked for misconduct. The bill was introduced following BuzzFeed News' story on a patient who had been sexually abused by the OB/GYN who delivered her children. 

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