Most of us know by now that eating fast food in excess is not good for you. Sure, these restaurants may offer up some more nutritious options, such as salads and fruit, but what about those kids meals? Kids don’t get the widest selection when it comes to fast food menus, and it doesn’t help when there is a fun little toy accompanying their meal. It sure seems harmless enough, but when a child is asking for a fast food meal because of the toy that it comes with, we have to ask ourselves if the motives are all wrong here. When it comes down to it, the fast food industry has a firm grasp on marketing to children and they know how to get kids wanting their toys and eating their food.
Childhood obesity is a growing issue in America and many people are pointing fingers at fast food restaurants. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, two-thirds of adults 20 years and over are overweight or obese and numbers for children and adolescents range from 11 to 18 percent. A child generally does not understand proper nutrition and they don’t have too many options on their kids menu to begin with. One county in California has taken a stand against this issue, in hopes of fighting childhood obesity and also in an attempt to de-link the connection between unhealthy food and toys.
The board of supervisors in Santa Clara County voted this past Tuesday to ban the promotional toys that often accompany kids meals if those meals don’t meet certain nutritional standards. These criteria are based on federal standards and recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and would apply to all fast food restaurants giving away toys in meals intended for children. Ken Yeager, the board president, said that this new law will level “the playing field by taking away the incentive to choose fatty, sugary foods over healthier options.”
The law will allow restaurants to give away toys as long as the meals don’t contain excessive calories, sodium, sugar or fat. Yeager says that this is not an attack on toys themselves, because after all, toys are not what make children obese. It’s the incentive of a toy accompanying an unhealthy meal which leads to childhood obesity.
One of four children in Santa Clara is obese, with even higher rates among low-income residents. This new fast food restaurant law would take effect this summer after a final vote in May.
Camp Shane weight loss camp supports the fight against childhood obesity, by emphasizing proper nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles. First established in 1968, Camp Shane is the longest running weight-loss camp in the world. With 42 years of experience in helping overweight children establish healthy diets and active lifestyles, Camp Shane provides a friendly, supportive and non-threatening environment. Much more effective than traditional “fat camps” or “boot camps,” Camp Shane campers have an extremely high success rate when it comes to keeping weight off for the long-term. The program currently treats coed children ages 7–17 and young women ages 18–25 at its locations in New York and Arizona. And there is a program for coed young adults and adults in New York: www.shanedietresorts.com. For more information, visit www.campshane.com, visit us on Twitter @campshane or call 914-271-4141.