San Francisco Joins Santa Clara County in Banning Happy Meal Toys


San Francisco - In April, 2010, Santa Clara County, California, just south of San Francisco passed a historic legislation which bans toys from kids' meals in fast food restaurants.

County Supervisor Ken Yeager proposed this new law. He would like to limit restaurants from offering toys that encourage children to eat fatty, sugary, high-calorie foods which may lead to childhood obesity.

Before the legislation was passed I shared my opinion on this issue in the article,

Should Toys be Banned from Happy Meals? I understand the importance of ending childhood obesity in this country. In fact that is why I started Healthy Moms. But as a firm believer in small government, freedom and liberty I think that Santa Clara County is doing this all wrong.

Fast food restaurants have been offering toys in their kids' meals for decades. I agree with Barragan that toys in kids' meals are a great tool for parents. I also use the toys to reward my kids for good behavior.

As parents it is our responsibility to teach our children about making healthy food choices. We don't need "big brother" breathing down our necks and telling us what we can and can not do with our children. Popular fast food restaurants like McDonald's, Carl's Jr. and Burger King offer healthier alternatives for kids. It is up to us to decide what we allow our kids to eat and how often they can have that food item.

It is alright to treat your child to a fast food restaurants once or twice a month. Parents that allow their kids to eat fast food on a weekly or daily basis are only contributing to the childhood obesity problem.

The New York Times reported that this is the first law of this kind. Restaurants can give away toys as long as the meals don’t contain excessive calories, sodium, sugar or fat. “This ordinance does not attack toys,” Mr. Yeager said just before the board passed the law by a 3-2 vote. “Toys, in and of themselves, do not make children obese.”
Now San Francisco County Supervisor Eric Mar wants a similar law for his county. Mar requested the city attorney draft legislation that would outlaw “fast food restaurants from including toys with meals marketed at children that are high calorie, high sugar and high in fat.”

Mar said that it “follows along with efforts in Spain, in England and in Santa Clara County to really protect children and communities from fast food.”

The effort is meant to try and reduce childhood obesity. “We will protect our communities from fast food companies that are spending $1.6 billion marketing their wares to children,” Mar said.

Banning toys from kids' meals will not help prevent childhood obesity. Ending this problem starts at home. Parents need to be educated and better informed on what to feed their children, how often they can have treats from fast food restaurants and the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle.

Most of us [parents] are smart enough to know how to make healthy food choices for our children. This radical law only makes us seem ignorant and stupid, which we are definitely not.

If you live in San Francisco County I urge you to contact Mr. Mar and tell him that you are requesting a no vote on the kids' meal toy ban. Below you shall find his contact information.

Eric Mar
415-554-7410
Eric.l.mar@sfgov.org


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Tags: childhood, health, obesity, opinion

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