Fate of Kids Meals Healthy Beverage Bill Rests in Hands of Governor Brown

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California May Become First State in Nation to Make Healthy Beverages the Default Drink Option in All Restaurant Kids’ Meals

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is urging Governor Jerry Brown to do what the California Legislature did recently—give a thumbs up to a landmark bill that leverages good nutrition as a new way to prevent cancer. If Governor Brown signs Senate Bill (SB)1192 into law, it will be the first statewide law in the country to mandate milk, sparkling water or water as the default drink option in kids’ meals.

 

Currently, most restaurant kids’ meals include a sugary beverage that contains more than the weekly recommended amount of sugary drinks for children. With the American Cancer Society findings now showing nearly 20 percent of all cancers are linked to weight, it is important that good nutrition starts early—and California is leading the way in showing how legislation can get kids on a healthy path that prevents cancer later in life.

 

“Approximately 7 in 10 adults and 1 in 3 youths in this country are overweight or obese – more than double the rate from just 20 years ago,” said ACS CAN California Legislative Director Autumn Ogden-Smith. “Children and teens who are overweight or obese are likely to remain so as adults, increasing their lifelong risk for harmful and costly diseases, including many forms of cancer.

 

Customers can still explicitly ask to replace the healthy drink with a sugary beverage, but the default beverage offered in a children’s meal must be a healthful option.  Sugary drinks are a top source of calories in kids’ diets and typically don’t provide any positive nutritional value. Drinking just one sugary drink a day increases a child’s likelihood of being overweight by 55 percent.

 

SB 1192 is an example of the type of innovative cancer-fighting policies ACS CAN is urging states enact in its newest How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality. With 13 different cancers now linked to being overweight or obese, ACS CAN is working to enact policies that promote healthy eating and active living environments as the newest weapons in the cancer fight. 

 

A third of all cancer deaths are tied to tobacco use and California has become a leader in enacting tobacco control policies. But, for the majority of Californians who don’t use tobacco, the greatest behavioral risk factor for cancer is being overweight.

 

 

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.  ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

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