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

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Thanks Gov. Brown for Signing Landmark Legislation into Law

September 20, 2018

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) applauds Governor Jerry Brown for giving a thumbs up to a landmark bill that leverages good nutrition as a new way to prevent cancer. Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1192 into law today, making California the first state in the country to mandate milk, sparkling water or water as the default drink option in kids’ meals.

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.

For the majority of Californians who don’t use tobacco, the greatest behavioral risk factor for cancer is being overweight A total of 13 different cancers are now linked to being overweight or obese, which is why good nutrition is an effective weapon in the fight against cancer.

“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. Currently, most restaurant kids’ meals include a sugary beverage that contains more than the weekly recommended amount of sugary drinks for children.

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


Stephanie Winn

[email protected] / 916.802-4033

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network


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