McDonald's made a commitment Thursday to end marketing sodas as a beverage option for Happy Meals, noting that the sugary drinks will not make an appearance in advertisements or in-store visuals.
While parents who order their child a soda will not be turned down, health advocates say McDonald's has moved a step in the right direction in promoting alternatives.
The announcement was made in partnership with The Alliance for a Healthy Generation and the American Heart Association, both of which have worked toward ending childhood obesity.
McDonald's has also decided to offer a side salad, fruit or vegetable with value meals as a substitute for french fries. The alternatives will be offered at no additional cost.
The change will occur in 20 global markets, including the U.S., where 85 percent of the company's profit derives from.
Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest Margo Wootan wrote that she's excited to see the changes, but that McDonald's could do more.
"McDonald's could make its meals less harmful by continuing to reduce sodium, adding more whole wheat into their buns, and phasing out their 30- and 21-ounce soda sizes for adults," Wootan wrote.
Wootan also wrote that competitors will soon begin to overhaul their menus in the path of McDonald's.
McDonald's predicted the change will be implemented globally by 2020.