This bill requires restaurants selling children’s meals to include non-sugar sweetened beverages as the default beverage option.
AAP Positional Letter
May 22, 2018
The Honorable Jim Wood
Chair, Assembly Health Committee
State Capitol, Room 6005
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 1192 (Monning) Children’s meals
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Wood,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, strongly supports SB 1192 (Monning) to require restaurants selling children’s meals to include non-sugar sweetened beverages as the default beverage option.
Childhood obesity is among the most pressing health issues facing children and their families. Since the 1970s, the prevalence of obesity has increased among children 6-11 years old from 4% to 19%, and in adolescents 12-19 years of age from 6% to 17%. As practicing pediatricians, we diagnose California children and adolescents as overweight and obese in our offices daily. Many have co-morbid chronic conditions previously only seen in adults, including higher blood pressures, higher cholesterol levels, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The circumstances that contribute to each child’s obesity are variable; however, one of the most common causes is the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. Intuitively, the taste of such beverages attracts children. Further, children frequently encounter marketing and choice architecture geared toward attracting children’s attention to sugar-sweetened beverages as the favored and easily accessible option in restaurants. Moreover, parental education regarding the caloric content of beverages is poor. There have been numerous occasions in clinic when we find parents surprised by the total caloric and sugar content of their choice beverages.
As pediatricians discuss lifestyle modifications with their young patients, a common barrier that arises is the lack of healthy choices at the forefront of restaurants and stores.
SB 1192 (Monning) would help improve the dietary content of children’s diets by changing the default choice in kids’ meals to the healthy option. (Other drinks would still be available, but would need to be requested.) This is a reasonable and important step in combating the childhood obesity epidemic facing America’s youth.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 statewide urge you to vote AYE on SB 1192 (Monning). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Christine Thang, M.D.
Senior Policy Analysts
American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Assembly Health Committee Members
Office of Honorable Bill Monning, author
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne