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The Initiative

Despite Denver’s reputation as a healthy city, we continue to struggle to provide healthy environments for our children. Over 30% of children aged 2-17 in Denver are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.

  • Obesity prevalence in children in Denver has not changed over the past 6 years. 
  • Obesity prevalence is statistically significantly higher for Latinx young people as well as for African American young people, compared to white young people.
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) is the leading contributor to obesity and other related chronic diseases (heart disease, tooth decay, liver disease and diabetes). 
  • A quarter of Denver’s children drink at least one soda every day

Restaurants have been associated with higher consumption of calories and sugary drinks compared to meals at home. Thus, restaurants shape norms for beverage choices among families with children. 

  • 89% of families eat out at a restaurant in a week in the U.S.
  • Children consume about a quarter of their daily calories when they eat out at restaurants.
  • Approximately one-third (34%) of parents purchased a soda or other sugary drink with their child’s kids’ meal in the U.S.
  • In Denver County of a total of 2,914 restaurants:
    • About a quarter (26%) offer a kids’ meal; and 
    • most (89%) kids’ meals include a SSB.(Figure 2) 
  • ADD: Other cities where this has passed