McDonald's Happy Meals Ban May Spread

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Hard to believe that some people are outraged by the government stepping in to protect our children from obesity, however consumers are upset that the governments care for our children’s well being may spread.

"It's only going to pick up steam," said Ken Yeager, the Santa Clara County supervisor who introduced the ban, which forbids restaurants from giving away toys with meals that don't meet nutritional standards. "The fast-food chains must realize that the tide has turned."

Yeager said he had received inquiries from officials in New York, Chicago and Orange County, and some public health advocates say the measure is ripe to spread across the country.

No major city has mounted an effort as daring as San Francisco's to protect children from obesity, It prohibits all restaurants in the city from offering a free toy or prize with meals that exceed a set number of calories (600), sodium (650 mg) and fat levels (35% of total calories). All meals (except breakfast) must also contain a half cup of veggies and fruit.

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"The day after it was passed it was being mocked around the world," said Tony Winnicker, a San Francisco political strategist and spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, who opposed the ban. "If you were looking for something to portray a legislative body wasting time and effort at the expense of serious issues, you might invent this issue," he said.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's said the company had not decided how to respond to the San Francisco and Santa Clara County bans. "It would be premature to comment or speculate further on this matter, at this time.”

A McDonald's spokeswoman further stated "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."

People seem very upset and say the government is not giving them what they want. The ordinance isn’t about giving people what they want; it’s about giving them what they need.

Banning toys won’t end childhood obesity, and it doesn’t address the role parents’ decisions about eating plays in influencing the health of their children. The most we can hope for is that it will serve as a wakeup call to adults guilty of perpetuating the problem.

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