Drinks in Kids’ Meals (SIGNED)

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Sugary soda could no longer be a default beverage in kids’ meals in restaurants under his SB 1192, carried by Democratic Sen. Bill Monning of Carmel. Choices would be limited to water, plain milk, or a non-dairy substitute like almond milk, though customers could still order a sugary drink such as soda or juice at no extra charge upon request.

WHO SUPPORTS IT

The American Heart Association, Public Health Advocates, California Alliance of YMCAs and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California co-sponsored the bill, which has bipartisan support. Health care advocates say the marketing of sugary drinks has promoted childhood obesity and associated health problems, and that healthier habits early on help kids make healthier choices later in life.

WHO’S OPPOSED

Ideological opponents say parents don’t need guidance from the state in determining children’s diets. The California Restaurant Association has not taken a position on the bill. The American Beverage Association typically opposes restrictions on sugary beverage consumption, but is neutral this time around and has similar guidelines in place at elementary schools.

WHY IT MATTERS

Diabetes and obesity are leading drivers of high healthcare costs. Research shows children consume more sugar when they drink soda at a younger age. This puts them at a greater risk for tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. By changing the default option, advocates hope children will adopt healthier habits, such as preferring water over a sugary drink.

GOVERNOR’S DECISION

Signed by Governor Brown on September 20, 2018.

—Elizabeth Castillo