Are children craving fatty fast food just because it comes with a negligible plastic toy? Yes, says Santa Clara County board member Ken Yeager, who wants to ban the bonus toys included with 10 out of 12 high-calorie kids' meals. (Santa Clara was the nation's first county to force local restaurants to list calorie counts on menus, a policy that may go nationwide with Obama's health care bill.) Are Happy Meal toys exacerbating the childhood obesity crisis? (Watch an ABC report about banning toys at fast food chains)
These toy bribes should be banned: It's about time someone dealt with this, says Patty Fisher in the San Jose Mercury News. Fast-food chains "dangling trinkets in front of children" may be "one of America's most sacred traditions," but it's literally killing us. Rewarding kids with a toy for ordering a cheeseburger and fries shapes their "lifelong eating habits."
"Isn't the food enough?"
This reactionary move overlooks parental responsibility: The proposed Santa Clara toy crackdown is reactionary and should be nipped in the bud, says Denise Bertacchi in Examiner.com. "If parents want their kids to slim down, it's their job — not the government's — to "cut back on the cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets." It isn't McDonald's that "drives the kids to the restaurant" and buys them junk food, after all.
"Should Happy Meal toys be banned from your child's fast food meal?"
The food's the problem, not the toys: Any parent having trouble ignoring cries for fast-food toys should check out baby-nutrition blogger Nonna Joann's experiment, says Bethany Sanders at Diet Blog. Joann left a Happy Meal on her office shelf for a year, to see what happened — and what happened was "nothing." No decay, no mold. If "vermin" won't eat junk food, then why are we feeding it to our kids?
"Happy Meal is still 'Happy' one year on"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 9 Harvard dropouts who became fabulously successful
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- How I became a borderline hoarder
- How China sparked an Asian frenzy for killer submarines
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
Subscribe to the Week