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California Bill Looks to Restrict Restaurants From Serving Soda to Kids

The bill is currently awaiting approval from California governor Jerry Brown.

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A new bill that would prevent California restaurants from actively serving children any beverages that aren’t water or unflavored milk with their meals is currently making its way through the state legislature. Senate Bill 1192 doesn’t exactly make it illegal for restaurants to sell juice and soda, or for parents of kids to order it, but based on descriptions of the bill, water and milk would become the default serving options and no meal ads will attempt to sell soda to kids.

The bill is part of an effort to curb childhood obesity and is currently awaiting approval from California governor Jerry Brown. Should the bill pass, California will be the first state with a law like this on the books statewide. According to a CBS report, some cities in the state and throughout the country have already adopted a similar piece of legislation. Advocates of the bill, of which the American Cancer Society is one, feel this is a vital step towards ensuring good health for another generation.

“Some of these kids are drinking up to three sodas a day. This is setting them up for tremendous cancer risks down the road,” Stephanie Winn of the American Cancer Society told CBS affiliate KOVR. “Because now we know that 20 percent of all cancers are tied to being overweight.”

As the CDC notes, around 67 percent of children between the ages of two and 19 drink at least one sugary beverage day. The CDC also found an association between frequent soda consumption and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Regardless of the negative and well-documented health risks associated with sugary beverages, these types of legislative moves never go uncontested. Many parents and politicians don’t feel it’s the government’s place to even draw up something like Senate bill 1192.

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“I think the government shouldn’t determine what’s available when I as a mother know what’s best with my child,” California mother Inez Deocio told CBS

One other California parent questioned the necessity of the law, saying that he was “…old enough to remember when my mom would say ‘put down that soda, drink some water if you’re thirsty’”