News Archive

October 18, 2017

Local Lafayette youth stand up for kids

Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee helps to pass measure making healthy drinks the default option on kids’ menus

Boulder County, Colo. - Yesterday, the Lafayette City Council passed an ordinance to promote
children’s health by requiring that only healthy beverages, such as water,
milk, and milk alternatives, be offered on local restaurant kids’ menus.
Spearheaded by the Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee,
Lafayette’s Choice was first introduced to City Council on
Sept. 5.

“It’s our health,” said Adriana Iturbe, a member
of Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee. “So, we felt it was our responsibility
to speak up and take action for ourselves and the other kids in Lafayette.”

The adopted ordinance is the sixth of its
kind in the country and the first outside the state of California. It also
marks the first youth-led sugary beverage campaign in the nation. The policy
builds on Lafayette’s designation as a HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Cities
and Towns
by increasing
access to healthy foods in an effort to address childhood obesity.

“Sugary
drinks are a major culprit contributing to obesity and chronic disease,” said
Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director. “Efforts like
this one help to reduce the amount of sugary drinks our children drink by
providing parents with healthy options as the default.”

Sugary
drinks are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet. Children
who drink at least 1 sugary beverage a day are 55% more likely to be overweight
or obese. Nearly 1 in 4 (22.7%) of Boulder County children aged 2-14 are
overweight or obese, which is a 43% increase since 2003.

“Research
has shown that people stick to healthy default beverage options about 66% of
the time,” said Zayach. “This policy makes Lafayette a leader in supporting
families in promoting the health of their children.“

“In my
experience, children, including my younger siblings, don’t understand that
decisions that they make now will affect them for the rest of their lives,”
said Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee Member Alejandra Ramirez Zavala. “This is why Lafayette’s Choice is so
important. It will help parents, and
caregivers like myself, by providing easy access to healthy options.”

The impact of sugary drink consumption on
health is also an issue of equity; Latino children are disproportionally
impacted. In Colorado, 19% of non-Hispanic white children consume 1 or more
sugary drinks per day, while 30% of Latino children drink 1 or more sugar
drinks per day. A significant reason for this disparity is targeted marketing
that beverage companies use to market to kids, particularly children of color.

The
Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee has worked to promote health since its
inception in April 2006. It began contacting Lafayette restaurants about
limiting the drinks listed on their kids’ menu in May 2017.


The Lafayette Youth Advisory Committee engages Lafayette youth in outreach, advisory, and educational opportunities through solutions-based discourse and action in their community. In addition, the Committee advises the Lafayette City Council on a variety of youth-related issues and other relevant topics, fostering youth leadership and civic participation in the community. Twenty-five students from four local middle and high schools currently comprise the committee.