September 28, 2010

Yay! Two cities ban toys in fat fast food.

Fast Food companies: the obesity equivalent of a sex offender tempting a child in his car by holding out a toy?

“McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box and other fast food chains routinely market toys in their kids’ meals.

McDonald’s: authority on how to fight obesity in children, or an enabler?

Walt Riker, a spokesman for McDonald’s, said it was disappointed by the board’s action, adding that “our Happy Meals provide many of the important nutrients that children need,” including zinc, iron and calciumfor more, click over to NY Times.

McDonald’s, disappointingly and disingenuously, protests: “Banning toys is not way to combat obesity.” But I remember as a child wanting the Happy Meal, just so I could open it up and get my toys!

“Under the proposal, toys would be banned:

  • If the meal had more than 600 calories. There’s a 200-calorie limit for a single food item.
  • If the meal has more than 640 milligrams of salt or the single item had more than 480 milligrams.
  • If more than 35% of its total calories came from fat. Egg, low-fat or reduced-fat cheese, nuts and peanut butter are exceptions. Saturated fat could only comprise 10% of the total calories and trans fat only 0.5 grams.
  • “We’re committed to children’s well-being, and we’ll continue to learn and take action for our customers that is guided by science and facts,” the statement said. “The proposal does not reflect what consumers want, nor is it something they asked for. Parents tell us it’s their right and responsibility — not the government’s — to make their own decisions and to choose what’s right for their children.Banning a toy is not the way to fight obesity or improve children’s
    well-being. Solutions will come only from education and awareness based on science and fact.”
  • McDonald’s has also come under fire from the health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, which served the fast food chain with an intent to sue over the its use of toys to market fast food to children…” Read the rest here.

1/4 children in Santa Clara are clinically obese. 1/3 in poorer areas of SC, “a target audience for the various cheap meals that fast-food restaurants offer”. In San Francisco, other city considering ban, 15 – 23% of children are obese/overweight.

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