A county in California is trying to help curb childhood obesity by banning restaurants from giving away toys with high-calorie meals.
“The ordinance is largely symbolic as it would only cover unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County, meaning only about a dozen fast-food outlets and several other family-owned restaurants would be affected.”
“But its chief sponsor says it’s still important because it paves the way for other areas to act, may spur action by fast-food chains to offer healthier choices and can help parents by taking away a child’s incentive for wanting less healthy food.”
“This ordinance does not attack toys. Obviously, toys, in and of themselves, do not make children obese,” said county Supervisor Ken Yeager, who pushed for the ban. “But it is unfair to parents and children to use toys to capture the tastes of children when they are young to get them hooked on eating high-sugar, high-fat foods early in life.”
“The ban, which faces a final vote next month, would prohibit restaurants from giving away an incentive item, like a toy, with a meal that contains more than 485 calories, more than 600 milligrams of sodium and excessive amounts of fat and sugars….”
“A 2008 study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest showed that 10 out of 12 meals that came with toys exceeded the recommended caloric limits for children, Yeager said.”
“The California Restaurant Association lobbied against the ordinance saying it was misguided and another example of government overreaching. The organization placed ads in local newspapers against the ordinance and conducted a poll they said showed that an overwhelmingly number of county residents opposed such a measure.”
My kids absolutely ask to go to fast food restaurants seeking specific toys. They wanted all the Alvin and Chipmunk characters and some Lego toys in the past. I didn’t take them back to get the toys they wanted but it is hard to resist the harping.
My other problem with the toys in the meals, besides enticing the kids to like foods that are bad for them, is they are just junk that clutters the house. Lots of friends donate those types of toys to their classroom treasure boxes or AR prize store.
I consistently like the Chick-Fil-A toys better than other restaurants. I did go back two times to Chick-Fil-A when they were giving away the Wonder Why book series to get them for Walsh. He loved those books and in my mind their nuggets seem more healthy than other places.
So what do you think? Would banning the toys help keep the kids from getting hooked on bad fast food? (Then again the adults don’t get any toys and they still eat there!!) Should they get a toy if they ordered the grilled chicken nuggets or a yogurt parfait? Or should it not be the responsibility of the market place but of the parent to control how much fast food their child eats?