San Francisco Mayor To Veto Happy Meal Ban

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The law to ban Happy meals is slated to go into effect on December 1, 2011 however, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to veto this bill that could help stop the epidemic and childhood obesity and the deadly effects it can have on youth.

"We must continue pursuing real strategies against childhood obesity, but this legislation takes an intrusive and ineffective approach. Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money," Newsom, who was elected California's lieutenant governor on November 2, said in a statement.

The law will probably still end up on the books despite Newsom's firm and outspoken opposition. The board passed it on an 8-3 vote Tuesday, the minimum needed to override a veto. An override vote has not been scheduled. The goal, say the legislative sponsors, is to use government regulation to help combat childhood obesity. Newsom called the intent laudable but imprudent.

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"There are times when a city can go too far. There's a time when we even cross the line," Newsom said. "Doing these types of toy bans is inappropriate, I don't think particularly effective, and I just think goes way too far in inserting government to try to be the decision-maker in someone's life as opposed to parents," the mayor said.

The new law addresses how toys and other marketing freebies entice kids to buy fast-food meals that are high in fat and calories, said Supervisor Eric Mar, who initiated the proposal. "This is a simple and modest policy that holds fast food accountable," Mar said.

It appears the mayor and McDonald’s fans would rather give children toys for eating unhealthy food rather than be rewarded for eating healthy habits. A study released by Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity said the fast-food industry spent $4.2 billion on advertising in 2009 and found that 40% of preschool-aged children ask to go to McDonald's on a weekly basis, and 15% ask on a daily basis. Also, 84% of parents say they have taken their children to eat fast food at least once in the past week.

"Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money," Newsom said. Problem is these statistics are showing that parents don't seem to be taking initiative to help curve childhood obesity and city government is stepping in to help people make healthier choices.

Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating can reduce these deadly effects of childhood obesity.

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