Ban on Fast-Food Toys … FANTASTIC!

What a brilliant idea.

The board of supervisors in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, has banned promotional toys that lure children to scarf down cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets from meals that don’t meet nutritional standards.

Ken Yeager, the board president, said the new law would “level the playing field by taking away the incentive to choose fatty, sugary foods over healthier options.”

As we know, the less-than-happy meals are loaded with calories, sugar, and salt, and more often than not kids beg for them to get the toys, not the food.

The nutritional criteria are based on federal standards and recommendations from the nonprofit Institute of Medicine, and will apply to all fast-food restaurants giving away toys in kid’s meals. The idea is to change kids’ food preferences by removing the link between unhealthy choices and fun toys.

The new law is the first of its kind, and it’s no accident that Santa Clara County is the birthplace. 1 out of 4 children in the county is obese, and the numbers are even higher for low-income residents, who are key targets of the fast-food chains.

We’re hoping this new law sparks a nationwide push and encourages the restaurant chains to step up and voluntarily stop bribing kids to eat food that’s bad for them. But maybe not. Walt Riker, a spokesman for McDonald’s, said they were disappointed by the board’s action, adding that “our Happy Meals provide many of the important nutrients that children need, including zinc, iron and calcium.” Really?

Toys don’t make children obese, calorie-loaded fast-food does. Let’s stop linking the two.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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One response to “Ban on Fast-Food Toys … FANTASTIC!”

  1. Robin

    I’m the mom of an 8 year old who has eaten at McD’s only about a dozen times. We love some of the toys, although most of them are just as junky as the food. But the mini Madame Alexander dolls are amazing.
    Did you know you can buy the toys without buying the food? We do this whenever the toy looks like fun.

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