Sustained Leadership over Two Decades

Since our inception, Public Health Advocates has challenged the unjust social, political, and economic conditions that perpetuate health inequities in California.


Our Founding

The California Center for Public Health Advocacy is established.

Childhood Obesity

First in the nation: Sponsor state legislation addressing childhood obesity, including a proposal to tax sugary drinks.


School Food

First in the nation: Define and pilot test rigorous statewide school nutrition standards (Read bill SB 19).


Childhood Obesity

Publish and publicize a study showing that 26.5% of California children are overweight, highlighting data by state legislative district and calling for a ban on soda and junk food sales in schools.


School Soda Ban

First in the nation: Prohibit the sale of sugary drinks in elementary and middle schools (Read bill SB 677).


Childhood Obesity

Publish study showing continued rise in childhood obesity; gain media attention a week before final vote on school nutrition bills.

School Soda Ban

Join with Governor Schwarzenegger to extend the sugary drink sales ban to high schools (Read bill SB 965).

School Junk Food Ban

Prohibit the sale of junk food in California’s K-12 schools (Read bill SB 12).


School PE

Publish study showing that more than half of California school districts fail to meet state physical education mandates.


Physical Education Funding

Join with other advocates to get schools a $500 million one-time budget allocation for PE, plus $20 million in ongoing funding for PE teachers.

Food Environments

Develop the Retail Food Environment Index (RFEI), showing that California has 4 times as many unhealthy food outlets as healthy ones.


Food Environments

Publish study showing a direct link between retail food environments and obesity and diabetes, disproportionately harming underserved communities.

Menu Labeling

First in the nation: Require that menus in chain restaurants show calories (Read bill SB 1420).


Soda and Obesity

Publish study showing that a soda a day increases obesity risk by 27%, and a second study estimating the annual economic cost of obesity and inactivity in California at $41 billion.

HEAL Cities

Launch the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign helping underserved cities to enact local health policies.


Healthy Beverages

Join with equity advocates to prohibit the provision of sugary-sweetened beverages from state licensed childcare facilities (Read bill AB 2084), and to expand access to clean water in schools (Read bill SB 1413).


Childhood Obesity

Publish study showing the stark divide between counties with declining obesity rates and those with rates continuing to rise.

Human Rights

Join with water advocates to establish the human right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water in California (Read bill AB 685).

HEAL Cities Campaign

Expand HEAL Cities Campaign to Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, and Virginia.


Healthy Teens

Join in launching Building Healthy Communities in Boyle Heights, California. Begin mobilizing students to promote water consumption and restorative justice in Los Angeles Unified School District.

Stockton REACH

Launch the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) campaign in Stockton, California. Work with African American churches to promote healthy eating and physical activity.

Soda Consumption

Publish study showing rising rates of sugary drink consumption among teens, especially among teens of color.


Diabetes Hospitalizations

Publish study showing that diabetes is tied to a third of California hospital stays.

Warning Labels

First in the nation: Sponsor sugary drink warning label legislation, passing it through the California Senate (Read bill SB 1000).


Soda Research

Release public opinion poll showing that 69% of voters support a statewide soda tax and 78% support a soda warning label.


Name Change

California Center for Public Health Advocacy becomes Public Health Advocates, reflecting our expanded scope.


Publish study showing that 55% of California adults have either diabetes or prediabetes.


Diabetes Prevention

First in the nation: Sponsor successful state budget request to make the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program a covered service under Medi-Cal.

School Marketing

Ban soda and junk food marketing from California schools (Read bill AB 841).


Kids' Meals

Make water or milk the default option in restaurant kids meals (Read bill SB 1192).

Childhood Trauma

Receive $10 million state allocation to launch All Children Thrive (ACT-CA). (Read bill SB 840).

Stockton REACH

Extend CDC-funded Stockton REACH project by 5 years, focusing on nutrition, physical activity, and childhood trauma prevention.


Student Advocates

Mentor high school students to secure $6 million for the Stockton Unified School District to address childhood trauma, and $6 million for safe drinking water throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Park Equity

Help 12 low-income cities apply for Prop 68 park bond funds in park-poor California communities.

20th Anniversary

Celebrate 20 years of changing laws and expanding possibilities that increase health equity for Californians and beyond.

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