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New bill to ban sugary drinks at day cares

May 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In an effort to fight childhood obesity in California, lawmakers are backing a new bill that would ban sweetened drinks at licensed day care centers.With childhood obesity on the forefront of their minds, state lawmakers want to crack down on what day cares give children to drink.

One proposal bans whole milk, limits 100 percent fruit juice to just one serving a day and prohibits beverages with natural or artificial sweeteners.

"I think it's important that when those children are experiencing those settings, that they are offered healthy options and begin to learn healthy eating habits," said Santa Monica Assemblywoman Julia Brownley.

The Centers for Disease Control says about one out of every four children between the ages of 2 and 5 has a high body mass index which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems.

There are exceptions to the proposed rule. Parents will be able to bring any drink from home for the day care to serve and any drink medically necessary will also be allowed.

Republicans are furious that the proposal passed the assembly and is now headed to the state Senate.

"The government should not be coming in and telling day care providers, parents, nannies or anybody else how they should be raising their children," said Assembly Republicans Spokesman Seth Unger.

Rene Guerrero is concerned about his children's health, but he doesn't think drink restrictions are the only answer.

"Exercise, activity and a good balanced diet and meals and nutrition. That'll help out with the obesity problem," said Guerrero.

But supporters insist drink restrictions will help reverse an alarming trend.

"If we don't address this kind of issue, then the next generation of children will not have as long a life span as the current generation, our generation. I'm not sure that's what we want for our children," said Brownley.

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