No More Toys For Fatty Kid's Meals

The San Francisco city government passed a ban on Happy Meals this week in an effort to curb childhood obesity in the city. Is this a good or bad idea?

San Francisco bans childrens toys in high fat meals

San Francisco apparently dislikes children, toys and happiness.

OK, we're kidding -- sorta.

The city of San Francisco enacted a Happy Meal ban Tuesday aimed at fast food restaurants that give away toys with meals that contain too much sugar and fat.

Less fat, more veggies

The city's board of supervisors passed the ban to help curb the child obesity plaguing the city. Restaurants that want to offer toys with their Happy Meals must include fruits and vegetables instead of high-fat alternatives. Meals must also contain less than 600 calories (including the drink) and only 35 percent of the calories can come from fat.

"We're part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice," city supervisor Eric Mar told the Los Angeles Times. "From San Francisco to New York City, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate."

Too much government

Opponents of the Happy Meal ban say that this is another way government is trying to regulate a person's right to choose what goes in their bodies.

"It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for," McDonald's spokesman Danya Proud said.

Even San Francisco's mayor is against the law -- he pledged to veto the measure if it came to his desk, according to The Times. Instead, city supervisors passed it with a veto-proof margin.

San Francisco isn't the only California government banning the Happy Meal toys -- Santa Clara county also enacted a ban in April 2010.

The Happy Meal ban is set to take affect in December, city supervisor Mar said.


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Tags: happy meal ban kids meal ban

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Comments on "Happy Meal Ban? It's happening in San Francisco"

Eatocracy November 03, 2010 | 4:29 PM

How lame! If you're broke, tired and have a hungry kid, what are you supposed to do? Why don't they focus on making nutritious food more affordable? Like it's not hard enough to work like a dog all day and go home and feed the kids dinner? Now Moms are supposed to feel guilty about Happy Meals too? Sheesh!

LadyMacbeth November 03, 2010 | 2:16 PM

It's almost like the government thinks parents are powerless to control their own kids. Sure, toy marketing might get kids to want Happy Meals, but parents can still say "no." I appreciate the effort on San Franciso's part, but the child obesity problem really represents a broader issue with proper parenting. Stop blaming Happy Meals.

Sarah November 03, 2010 | 2:12 PM

I'm not sure a toy car has the power to single-handedly ruin a child's idea of nutrition. Let them eat the Happy Meal and just enjoy being a kid once in a while. And if the government insists on moving forward with this nonsense, why not ban free balloons from Applebee's? How about we just start handing out carrot sticks and celery at carnivals? Come. On.

Michelle November 03, 2010 | 2:08 PM

Personally, I like the idea of taking away the Happy Meal toy. The toy serves as a marketing tool to keep kids begging parents to buy the products. The obesity epidemic demonstrates that we don’t need to further incentivize kids to purchase fast food.

bringbackhappymeals November 03, 2010 | 2:07 PM

It is not up to McDonald's or the government to determine what kids do and do not eat. The parents have the final say on what goes into their kids' mouths. Most parents approach a Happy Meal as a treat. And those who do not likely feed their kids unhealthy foods beyond McDonald's doors. Maybe it's time to educate parents on proper nutrition for their kids? Perhaps that's where San Francisco's attention should go? I tell you one thing -- if my mom took me to McDonald's as a kid for Chicken McNuggets and apples I would have been seriously PO'ed. It's all about the experience.

Happy Meal Momma November 03, 2010 | 1:57 PM

This is absolutely ridiculous. How about we leave the responsibility on the parents! Sure, some of them make poor choices and pork up their kids, but how involved is the government going to get in parenting? What's next? A ban on timeouts because they might make a child upset?

melainebailey November 03, 2010 | 1:55 PM

So now parents will buy their kids larger portions of unhealthy food off the dollar menu? Unless they take away fast food all together, I don't think this will solve anything. But I do appreciate the intent to make our kids healthier.

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