Calif. considers banning juice drinks at daycares


With childhood obesity a great concern these days, state lawmakers want to crack down on what daycares 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," Assm. Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, said.

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

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

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

"The government should not be coming in and telling daycare providers, parents, nannies or anybody else how they should be raising their children," Assembly Republican Spokesperson Seth Unger said.

Rene Guerrero is concerned about his children's health, but does not 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," he said.

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

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

Another measure to confront California's childhood obesity crisis was approved Thursday by the state Senate. It would prohibit the sale of sugar-sweetened sports drinks in middle schools and high schools.

Students could still drink them at after-school practices or during games.

California already bans sports drinks in elementary schools and sodas were removed from all school vending machines in 2007.

The sports drink bill now goes to the Assembly.

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