Burger King says it has dropped sodas from its kids' meal menus, bowing to urging from advocate groups and following moves that were similarly made by Wendy's and McDonald's.

The fast food chain has also stopped merchandising fountain drinks to accompany Burger King Kids' Meals, instead offering apple juice, fat-free milk and low-fat chocolate milk, company officials said.

Burger King implemented the policy last month "as a part of our ongoing effort to offer our guests options that match lifestyle needs," said Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America.

The group MomsRising, which, with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has been urging fast food chains to improve the nutritional quality of its offerings by removing soda from children's menus, hailed the announcement.

"Parents and families across the country are applauding as one by one, restaurants are listening to parents and public health experts and starting to do their part to help keep America's kids healthy," said Monifa Bandele, Senior Campaign Director of the group's Food Power project.

Sugared carbonated sodas are still available, Burger King said, but they will not appear on kids' meal listings on menu boards.

The Big Three in fast food chains -- McDonalds, Wendy's and Burger King -- have been joined in providing more healthy menu options by other chains including Subway, Arby's and Chipotle.

In addition to healthier beverage options, McDonald's has announced it will stop serving chicken treated with human antibiotics.

The changes, particularly involving soft drinks, come amid increasing concern over childhood obesity in the U.S.; in 2012, more than a third of American children and adolescents were obese, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sugary drinks are one of the main contributors to childhood obesity, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest, adding that it spent two years lobbying Burger King for the change.

"It will help children eat better now, as soda is the leading source of calories in children's diets," says the group's director of nutrition policy Margo Wootan. "It also helps to set kids on a path toward healthier eating in the future, with fewer kids becoming conditioned to think that soda should be a part of every eating out occasion."

Although the change was decided on last month, Burger King said it did not immediately announce it in order to give its restaurants time to implement the policy and update its menus.

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