The American Beverage Association has hit back at yesterday's California Assembly's decision today to pass legislation that will impose restrictions on beverages sold to high school students on school grounds from 30 minutes before school until 30 minutes after school.

Susan K. Neely, president of American Beverage Association(ABA) said: "While well-intentioned, the California Assembly's passage today of SB 965 is unfortunate. Unlike younger children who may need the guidance of an adult to help them make choices, parents tell us they believe high school-aged children have the ability to make informed choices, and should have a wider range of beverage choices available to them. This legislation, however, removes that ability by restricting beverages sold in high schools, including low-calorie juices and diet soft drinks."

ABA's school vending policy recommends no more than 50% of the total vending machine selections in a given high school would be devoted to soft drinks. The remaining selections would include bottled water, 100% juice, juice drinks, sports drinks, and other beverages.

The ABA statement said: "SB 965 is an ineffective means of addressing obesity, a complex problem with many causes, including lack of exercise, consuming excessive calories, lifestyle, genetics, and other factors. Singling out any one food or beverage defies science and common sense.

"The beverage industry recognizes that obesity is a serious problem, but it is most effectively addressed by teaching children to live a balanced lifestyle, consuming a variety of foods and beverages in moderation, and exercising every day. Our industry is committed to helping address childhood obesity and is working hard to be part of the solution. But, we strongly believe that high school students should be able to make beverage choices from an array of options."