HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two new laws were signed by Governor Ige to help expand access to healthier food and drinks across the state.
Senate Bill 549, now Act 138, makes sure that healthier beverages such as white milk, water, or 100 percent fruit juice, are now the default drinks offered with kids meals in restaurants.
Act 138 takes effect on Jan 1, 2020, where restaurants that serve meals to children will be required to provide the healthier options. The new law doesn’t completely ban sugary drinks though. Customers can still purchase those beverages if they choose.
Jessica Yamauchi, Hawaii Public Health Institute’s executive director, said that this was a great measure that she hoped would help lead in the right direction of continuing to be a healthier state.
“This is an opportunity to continue educating about healthy beverages and having parents really understand that this can affect their child’s health,” Yamauchi said.
“If a child doesn’t hear the unhealthy beverage choice, they won’t want it. Out of sight out of mind," Yamauchi added.
Yamauchi said she hoped that kids used to having healthy beverages would jump start the trend, and that they would continue making healthy decisions as they get older.
In addition, Act 153 took effect on July 1, doubling the worth of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — also known as SNAP, or food stamps — when used to purchase fresh and locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
Hawaii will become the second state in the nation to pass the “Healthy by Default” statewide legislation, following California.