NYC studies banning fast food toys
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 09:18:49 GMT
New York City council members are considering a ban of toy giveaways in fast-food restaurant, saying the incentive promotes unhealthy eating habits in children.
“If we can get the fast food industry to lead in this healthy quest by doing happy meals that have a nutritional value we would definitely change the tide of childhood obesity,” said the deputy majority leader of New York City Council, Leroy Comrie.
It would be a tremendous help to parents and families if they could have a healthy option with the toy, because the kids want the toy," said Comrie. "The kids scream up and down for the toy."
The proposed bill is looking to ban happy meal toys, unless restaurants make the meals they come with healthier. The bill calls for kids' meals to be less than 500 calories, and low in fat and sodium.
However, New York City would not be the first city considering to ban happy meal toys. A similar law was approved in San Francisco late last year and is due to go into action on December 1.
The new bill has not made everyone happy. Opponents include the National Restaurant Association and McDonald's Corp. New York State Restaurant says the proposal robs parents of choice, and burdens businesses with more regulation.
"On average, kids eat at McDonald's about three times a month; that means about 87 other meals are eaten at home, school or elsewhere, That adds up to a discussion larger than toys," said Mason Smoot, vice president and general manager for McDonald's New York region who beleives taking away toys would not solve childhood obesity.
The resistance from fast-food market comes while according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two-thirds of American adults and 15 percent of children are overweight or obese. In some states, the childhood obesity rate is above 30 percent.
Childhood obesity is not just a local problem in the US. Latest figures revealed that about 42 million children under the age of five suffer from obesity worldwide.
In response to the concerns about the growing problem, the world health Organization (WHO) issued a series of recommendations early this year to promote a global fight against the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.
The recommendations suggest removal of all forms of marketing of unhealthy foods from sittings where children gather such as nurseries, schools and playgrounds.
The international health body has also urged limitations on marketing of unhealthy foods and beverage, banning of these products in schools as well as restriction of marketing of unhealthy products to children under the age of 12.