CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The city of Chula Vista wants area restaurants to help local children become healthier.
"The rate of diabetes and obesity in our children is much higher than regional and national averages," said Chula Vista Senior Project Coordinator Stacey Kurz.
On Tuesday night, the Chula Vista City Council was expected to approve the Kids Choice Chula Vista program. The program would reward Chula Vista restaurants that offer healthy drinks as the default beverage with kid's meals. Parents would still be able to order soft drinks for their kids if they wanted.
"This is just trying to promote that awareness of healthier options on those children's menus," said Kurz.
In return, restaurants like Mangia Italiano on Third Avenue will receive incentives from the city. They'll receive free marketing opportunities through the city as well as expedited treatment for city services like obtaining permits.
Mangia Italiano owner Kathy Sparks said it makes sense.
"I think that the more we can do to make kids healthy, they longer they'll live, they happier they'll be," said Sparks.
"If you're trying to decide where to go, why not pick the one that's making a good choice for your kids?" said Chula Vista mother Shelee Petka.
Restaurants who participate in the voluntary program will also be given a Kids Choice Chula Vista cling to put in their windows.