The BAN of the Happy Meal

4 Nov

The premise is pretty simple – we can’t give toys away to kids with their meals, unless the meals are healthy – at least not in San Francisco. Healthy meaning that the meals are less than 600 calories, have less than 640 milligrams of sodium, and have less than 35% of calories from fat with less than 10% from saturated fat (with exceptions for nuts, seeds, eggs or low-fat cheese) and the there be at least a half cup of fruit or three-quarters of a cup of vegetables.

Our country is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, it is refreshing to see San Francisco take the lead on this one. Hopefully, SF is the first of many. Even better, maybe McDonald’s will change-up what they are serving. At Butter Beans, we see children who think they don’t like fruits and vegetables, find they like them – every single day. We are making strides in creating more sustainable food systems across the country with more green food markets and CSA’s and food cooperatives than ever before. But unless this generation of youngsters understand the connection between the food we grow, the food we eat and how this affects our bodies and the lives we are able to lead, our work will not outlive us. Right now, our children – those born after the year 2000 are the first generation not expected to outlive us, their parents. And it all boils down to eating habits.

May New York, and every city in between, follow suit.

 

280 Responses to “The BAN of the Happy Meal”

  1. gabriel329 November 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    A very good practice !

    • fitbodycoach November 5, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

      Thank you for this post – I’m completely in favor of this ban. I mean, the idea of a Happy Meal is great – a meal in a fun looking box with a toy surprise. It’s not necessarily the food the kids are so excited about. I think, as long as a meal is presented in a fun way, kids will be excited about it, even if it is healthy. We have to lead by example, when our kids see us making healthy choices, then they are more likely to do the same. I don’t feel like I’m depriving them, I’m doing them a favor, and they’ll realize that later in life. Everyone should be thankful that this is happening, should have been done years ago.

      • ASuburbanLife November 6, 2010 at 2:35 am #

        I totally agree. My kids beg to go to McDonald’s (I won’t take them but a friend has) but it’s all about the toy, not about the food.

    • fluffnrage November 6, 2010 at 2:38 am #

      i work at mcds. alot of parents come into mcds because they dont want to be bothered with cooking. they dont care about what their kids are eating. or drinking. some come in more than once a day. fyi chicken nuggets are made from white chicken breast, we use veggie oil. transfat. and instead of ordering fries you can have apple slices. its not that hard to choose from our menu selection we do have options. and we have nutrition guides. i dont know how you do it in the states but we try to accommondate our customers.

      • deerock November 7, 2010 at 12:50 am #

        I agree with your post. It just takes a small amount of effort to do the right thing (parents).

      • just because November 8, 2010 at 12:43 am #

        I LIKE YOUR POST…..it’s the parents of today…..

    • Antor November 7, 2010 at 1:50 am #

      I agree. True dat! 🙂

  2. runtobefit November 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    I can’t believe they are only giving toys for getting a healthy meal. I know what they are doing is for the better, but man I got some great toys when I was a kid…good memories. Me and many other people I know are healthy, yet we grew up on this stuff. It all starts at home and they should let the parents decide what is right for their children. I know that eating bad food should not be rewarded, but they will burn all those food calories playing at McDonald’s 🙂 What’s next…you can’t play on the playground unless you eat healthy. I mean honestly…when does it end?

    http://www.runtobefit.wordpress.com

    • Russ Ray November 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

      It ends when our civil liberties are taken away and we are told where to go, what to think, and what to do. Another good reason never to visit San Francisco.

      • Chris Newman November 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

        Wow, Russ, how’d we get from encouraging healthy eating in children to boycotting San Francisco? Talk about throwing the baby our with the bath water…

      • Mike Raven November 7, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

        I totally support Russ on this. Think of it this way: why 600 cal, 640 mg of salt, 35% of calories from fat? Where did they get those numbers? Seem rather arbitrary to me. And don’t tell me science. Science is about as cooked as those Happy Meals. Even if we buy some of the conclusions of those studies, their results are divergent. So, again, where are those numbers coming from?
        Did bureaucrats cook those numbers up? If so, under what authority? What gives those people the right to designate healthy from non-healthy meals?
        If you’re eating healthy and exercising regularly, then you know that no matter where your calories are coming from, too much of any food, particularly ones that are easy to overeat (like nuts), is not a good thing. Yet the dietary regulations allow for fat to come from certain types of foods.
        My point is simple: if the city of SF wants to designate dietary guidelines, be my guest. If it wants to funnel tax dollars into schools to indoctrinate kids in their standards for healthy eating, fine (tax dollars are already being funneled to enforce dogma around the green movement, so why not dietary stuff, too?). But when it starts mandating what restaurants can and can’t serve on the premise that it knows best what our kids should be consuming, then we’ve got another ball game entirely.
        Do I think kids should eat healthy? Absolutely. I’ve raised mine to eat right and run daily. But I can tell you I disagree with the government’s dietary guidelines, challenge it to PROVE to me that its guidelines are empirically valid, and positively refute its right to set policy in this case.
        Good going, Russ.
        -Mike Raven
        http://survivingcorporate.wordpress.com

      • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:35 am #

        Mike R: Your response makes as much sense as bringing kids every day to McD’s to eat.

        You said: Science is about as cooked as those Happy Meals. Let’s hope not. How did we get Neil Armstrong on the moon? Why do you have electricity in your household? Where does medical technology that saves people’s lives originate?

        You said: Did bureaucrats cook those numbers up? If so, under what authority?

        Of course bureaucrats didnt cook (pun) those numbers….they are unqualified to do so. Nutritionists and members of the medical research community most likely provided SF government with stats within a reasonably healthy or at least significantly improved consumption most likely devised the numbers.

        You said: If you’re eating healthy and exercising regularly, then you know that no matter where your calories are coming from, too much of any food, particularly ones that are easy to overeat (like nuts), is not a good thing.

        Agreed with the idea that too much of one thing isn’t a great idea….however…I’m willing to bet if I overdosed on salads rather than Big Macs I’d be feeling a lot better and my life would be far less threatened as far as health and obesity goes.

        You said: Yet the dietary regulations allow for fat to come from certain types of foods.

        Absolutely correct. I agree with you. These foods however do not contain trans fats which is what HM’s are all about. These are necessary fats (health-friendly if you will) that metabolize easily in the system so not likely to pile on the weight and serve healthy functions (eg. improve immune system)

        You said: challenge it to PROVE to me that its guidelines are empirically valid, and positively refute its right to set policy in this case.

        I’m not clear on what you mean by it’s guidelines (specific guidelines).
        Its right to set policy: one amoung many perhaps:
        The obesity epidemic stems from unhealthy eating and if research (there’s that nasty science again) has anything to do with it the majority of this food comes from fast food places. Obesity as an adult often stems from poor eating habits taught to people as a child. It becomes very difficult for adults to change that pattern later in life…much easier to take a proactive stand and prevent it now rather than a reactive stand and try to bandage the wound later.

    • My Camera, My Friend November 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

      Eating a Happy Meal once or twice a year won’t hurt kids too much. But it is important that parents teach their kids to eat good healthy food from a young age. I personally believe consumer awareness, alternatives, and demand (or lack of demand) are better tools for solving these problems than laws.

    • deerock November 7, 2010 at 12:52 am #

      great post!! with you 100 percent!!

    • jewelofmisanthropy November 7, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

      Well, science DOES give us dietary guidelines, and they are available to anyone with very little effort. Sodium levels and saturated fat are big issues in food, especially food that is being marketed to children. And as for civil liberties and the “parent’s decision” thing – those are both good ideas, in theory. However our nation’s obesity and diabetes epidemics are relatively clear indications that something is not working in the way things have been done so far. If we all need just a little help making the right decisions, especially when it comes to the health of children, then I say we take it.

    • Mike Raven November 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

      Let me clarify the science comment.
      When done right, science can be a valuable thing. The question is, how can we do it right?
      Some of you on this board have peremptorily dismissed the very possibility that it could be done wrong. My suggestion is that you take a good hard look at the history of science and perhaps try doing some yourself: what you’ll find is that science is very rarely conclusive about anything.
      Scientists perform experiments to test hypotheses. A scientist CANNOT determine whether a given dietary guideline is optimal for everyone. It isn’t possible within the scope of an empirical study.
      Also, most of the studies we hear about are NOT empirical. They do not test a variety of variables against controls under controlled conditions. What they do is correlate phenomena. So, if 1,000 people happen to have fewer heart attacks by eating roast pig twice a day, the scientists conclude that eating roast pig may be heart-healthy. Even the non-scientists among us will understand that correlation does not equal causation: this is, by the way, a fundamental principle of statistics.
      So, my advice is that we use a little caution before heralding the dawn of a new age of empiricism: scientists themselves have always been frustrated by the populist misappropriation of their conclusions. Somehow, all those limitations of their studies that they post at the end of their articles, all those calls for further research, get left on the cutting room floor when msnbc and cnn report on their conclusions.
      One more thing. I agree that fast food is harmful–no doubt–and I wouldn’t take my kids to a fast food joint if you paid us. But, no, that doesn’t give the government the right to regulate whether fast food places can operate. I do wonder, though, how many of the people on this board who so vociferously call for government intervention in this case, would be as happy to discover the government regulating whether they can cookies at their local supermarket. More interesting perhaps, I wonder whether those same people would be equally averse to continued government regulation of pot in California. Or is the science not as valid in the case of hallucinogenic drugs?
      I know, I know, those nasty tangents again. Keep in mind, though, that those nasty tangents might just preserve your rights–rights our forefathers fought for in creating this country.
      All the best,
      mike

      • saradyanne November 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

        How can you argue with the fact the eating fruit or vegetables instead of fat filled french friends is a good thing?? You are making this way too complicated. Yes, the guidelines addressed in this post are pretty specific, but the obesity issue is simple. Many parents are too lazy to raise their children to eat healthy food instead of easy, convenient, unhealthy food. Kids eat way more processed food than ever before because it available like never before. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

      • howtobeamale November 9, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

        I understand what Mike R is saying. To understand where he’s coming from you need to have done some real scientific experiments. All experiments are carried out under different parameters, and the slightest change on a condition will give you 2 different answers for the same experiment.

        What Mike R is saying (I think) is that the nutritional breakdown is highly inaccurate. It could be an average, yes, but in the perspective of Science, the deviation, confidence interval and all that matters too.

        But I also agree, Mike you’re complicating it! LOL.

  3. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife November 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    What a great idea!

  4. tasteslikeyum November 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    This makes me really happy – why give a child a prize for eating junk?

    My fiance is a 6th grade teacher and tales of what the kids are taught to be an acceptable lunch (like a 2L of soda and a family sized bag of chips, or two value meals from Taco Bell) make me cringe. One school he taught at had a PTA board that thought it was acceptable to offer the children meals from Pizza Hut (pan pizzas in double cheese or double pepperoni) or McDonald’s (double quarter pounder with cheese or double hamburger – and this was to all grades, not just the eldest kids!) Why not take all that time and effort and instead instill better in-school lunches?

    Thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me to balance my eating – it was like an epiphany my first year in college when I went to lunch one day and thought “I want a big bowl of vegetables.” I knew then they had done me right 🙂

  5. kittymartine November 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Good post. I understand the premise of not enticing children using toys, but the issue I have is more to do with parenting. Do we as parents not have a responsibility to provide our children with choices that are healthy and teach them about nutrition? I don’t believe the toy, nor MCDonalds itself, is the issue.

    Conrats on getting pressed 🙂

    Kit

    http://katrinemartine.wordpress.com/

  6. Chellbellz November 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    What bothers me about this is that Unhealthy foods can come under 600 calories…McDonalds uses left over chicken parts for their nuggets, and god knows what for thier hamburgers. Maybe if they tried using fresher products and real food again they might win.

    I think at the end of the day these kids aren’t making the choice to go there, they have the want to go but their parents in the end choose if their kids should be eating this stuff. So let the parents choose themselves if they want to feed this garbage to their children. I know we have an obesity epidemic I myself am over weight but changing my eating habits. Children need to be taught that processed foods are just bad period, parents need to know these things too. Processed foods can meet that standard as well, and be loaded with tons of salt, sat fat, trans fat as well.

  7. CrystalSpins November 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    This ban is completely stupid.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  8. Jamie November 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    To be honest, this sort of regulation scares me. I’m smart enough to make healthy meal decisions for myself and my kids. I don’t need the government making such decisions for me. If my kids want Happy Meals, I’ll make a judgement and give it to them if I find that it is suitable at the time.. There, simple! Why can’t other parents have this sort of common sense?

    • em5459 November 6, 2010 at 10:49 am #

      I completely agree with you, its up to the parent to decide what their child is eating and frankly the lazy parent is going to go on a mcdonalds run rather than cook up a healthy meal even if there isnt a toy. You cant blame McDonalds for all the chubby kids out there its the parents fault for not implamenting healthy eating in the first place!

    • Russ Ray November 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

      Many of the reasons why people buy so much junk/fast/convenience food is because they are too poor to buy organic/so-called healthier alternatives. The people that are ordering stuff off the dollar menu are the people who don’t need to eat at McDonald’s while all the skinny people who can afford an extra 25% or more on their grocery bill have no problem with this kind of legislation.

      People also are on the go too much. It’s kind of hard to eat a salad while you’re driving.

      • bradenbost November 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

        This kind of social movement is guided by nothing but people who find it most satisfying to feed their egos by telling others that they are wrong, and by “sticking it” to people that do things they don’t like. If there were REALLY concerns about getting people to eat healthier, there would be pushes for cheaper healthy food. And I DON’T mean taxing the heck out of so-deemed “unhealhty” food, either. I mean funding to make healthy food cheaper rather than more expensive and elitist. I mean putting the money into healthy-only school lunch programs. I mean tax incentives for buying organic. I’m sure if you think for a little while, you can up with some ideas yourself!

        But that’s too hard, and if people benefit from that, at whom can we turn up our noses? So let’s keep taking fun, memorable treats away from children. That’ll teach ’em to have peers that are fat.

      • Samantha November 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

        Good point, but I think we should keep in mind also how much our society emphasises a materialistic lifestyle as opposed to one that involves balanced eating and healthy living. Some lower-income families could afford to eat healthier if they budgeted their money in such a way — it would come at a cost to their ability to afford wide-screen tvs, ipods, cell phones, etc and that is why they don’t do it. I am certainly not trying to claim that is the case for all lower income families, nor that healthier food options shouldn’t be offered at more affordable prices — they should. I am simply saying that in North America our priorities are not quite what they should be.

    • eva November 7, 2010 at 9:01 am #

      it would be wonderful for all parents to feel the way you do(as do i), but fact is, this is not reality. that’s why i think this new ban is a good idea to help parents pay attention. i believe that the problem is that parents aren’t paying attention to what they’re feeding their kids. it’s not that they don’t care. they just need to be redirected and this is a good attempt to do so.

    • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:44 am #

      The government does make your decisions about what you are and are not allowed to feed your children Eva. It chooses food of a certain quality and are as careful as it can reasonably be to prevent contaminated food coming into this country. It’s not a foolproof system…nothing is…but thank God the FDA dictates our food standards because it is helping to keep us safe.

    • ken November 8, 2010 at 5:04 am #

      They are not banning the actual meal being sold to children. They are banning the toy that is given away with the happy meal.

      I think it is appropriate to do this because I think it’s a little manipulative on the part of McDonald’s to use a toy to get more kids to buy their meals. I remember as a kid I’d just want the happy meal because I thought the toy was really cool that month.

      This decision isn’t controlling us, it’s restricting what the big businesses can do when they’re trying to manipulate us. If you really want your child to get a cheap toy, just go to the dollar store, big lots, the bargain bin at walmart, etc.

    • saradyanne November 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

      But the fact is that many don´t. If you already make good choices that´s great, but there are far too many people who don´t. I don´t like the idea of being controlled either, but if things like that can open some parents´ eyes, I think it is worth it.

  9. thefrenchchick November 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Let’s hope the rest of the country does follow suit. I’ve seen too many kids in my own children’s school whose parent’s think that a cold lunch for their kids should come in a box. I can’t stand seeing those so called “Lunchables” in kid’s hands. Since when did meat & cheese on crackers constitute a meal?

    Just don’t let McD’s get away with saying that fries are a vegetable because they start out as potatoes.

    Great post. Congratulations on making Freshly Pressed.

  10. She.Is.Just.A.Rat November 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    That’s a great idea. We will never change the eating habits of children if we reward them with a prize for eating unhealthy food!

  11. Mikalee Byerman November 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    I’m torn on this issue. Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to inspire healthy eating in their children … not a city’s?

    But then again, perhaps anything we can do to get big corporate giants to change their unhealthy ways is a good thing…

  12. dennisfinocchiaro November 5, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    Wow…great news! What an excellent idea. Great post!
    http://www.denwrites.com

  13. midnitechef November 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    640 mg of sodium doesn’t sound healthy. That’s a little over a 1/4 teaspoon of salt for one meal. Or, 43% of a “healthy” daily intake of 1,500 mg.

  14. germanthemaster November 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    well at least they wont be fat, which not only causes health problems but also social, you should always tell a kid when they are overweight or teh consequences after that will be catestrophic, you can alwyas make your kids a homemade happy meal witha toy from the dollar tree, not that hard to cook, im a 16 year old guy and i can do it. food network helps

  15. stephalump November 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    This is fantastic! A big Canadian Kudos to San Fransisco – and may we Canucks follow suit!

    Cheers to healthy diets!

  16. thejamminjabber November 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    If that’s what it takes. It’s sad that the government has to step in because Americans lack common sense and self control.

  17. mpaulphotography November 5, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I can’t say I agree on this – while the goal is laudable, the means are … to put it bluntly, wrong. The government – in this case, a city – has no right to ban a company from doing this. I’m all for eating healthy but this ban isn’t going to help.

  18. Vanessa Rima November 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Very interesting post!

    Vanessa Rima
    http://www.fashionissima.com

  19. axiom121 November 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    McDonalds has been serving the same thing for years, it’s apparently what their customer’s want. This law, while it’s intent is good, is boderline socialist. But then again I’d expect nothing less in the far left leaning San Francisco area. Until people are smart enough to find healthy choices for themselves, they’ll continue to be fat.

  20. The Calloway Legacy November 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Yeah, its a good idea, but if they don’t have happy meals, its not gonna stop kids from eating there, they might even get more food.

  21. Elisa November 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    I’ve read a lot about how eating habits relate to things like cancer and heart disease, so I’m really glad to hear about this change! People don’t realize a lot of the “normal” food products that exist today are only 50 years old or so. Previous generations didn’t feed their children hormone-pumped “chicken nuggets” and such.

  22. toggpine November 5, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    If we eat at a fast food place like that, I don’t order the kids meal. I don’t want the crappy toy cluttering up the car or the house. It is enough of a thrill to be eating the cheeseburger in the first place. The last time I tried their apple slices they were horrible, so unless they improve the flavor/freshness the kids aren’t going to want to eat the healthy choices either.
    I usually try to pack a “car picnic” if we are going to have to eat on the road. It is better for the budget and the diet.

  23. Josh November 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    I don’t they should not give toys w/ the happy meal, I think it falls on the parents. If you don’t want them eating junk, don’t give it to them! I had a happy meal once a week atleast growing up. Also, I did play outside. Keep the kids off the couch and active, cook good meals and we won’t have these problems.

    http://consolidatingschool-loans.org/

    • Stale Cigarettes and a Fistful of dreams November 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

      Interesting standpoint. I was wondering how long McDonald’s had been serving toys with their Happy Meals and why this is just now causing a stir. I should hope most people realize ingesting fast food is not a healthy choice even though we occasionally choose it (well for me it is occasionally, I have known many people who eat fast food regularly). I am a bit torn since I think that healthy eating habits and choices should stem from parents and if the parents don’t have the tools to make that decision, perhaps educators and others within the community need to make an effort to teach children healthy eating. Unhealthy food choices are a tough idea to contend with but I am leery of increasing government regulations within the community although I completely agree such foods should not be allowed inside of schools. I agree our increasingly sedentary lifestyle is a huge part of this epidemic. Technology, long work hours and heavy homework for grade school children keep them from getting the exercise they need. How about legislation for schools, a place in which children need to and are required to sit for extended periods of time five days a week (close to sometimes equal to a full work day) yet a place where gym class time is diminishing and free play time on the playground and the gym during recess is not always regular. Add to that close quarters in certain areas where sometimes kids do not have a safe, hospitable environment in which to play. I don’t know, I think there are so many factors that contribute to American’s unhealthy lifestyles it’s hard to pin the blame on a toy in a Happy Meal.

      • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:49 am #

        Stale Cigarettes: You said I am a bit torn since I think that healthy eating habits and choices should stem from parents and if the parents don’t have the tools to make that decision, perhaps educators and others within the community need to make an effort to teach children healthy eating. Unhealthy food choices are a tough idea to contend with but I am leery of increasing government regulations within the community although I completely agree such foods should not be allowed inside of schools.

        Agreed. However elementary schools do teach children about healthy eating….it is a health unit that is taught to children at every primary and junior grade level in many jurisdictions.
        Many schools do not promote unhealthy foods and they have begun a campaign that removed candy and soda machines and replaced them with water and milk.

  24. Josh November 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    I don’t they should not give toys w/ the happy meal, I think it falls on the parents. If you don’t want them eating junk, don’t give it to them! I had a happy meal once a week atleast growing up. Also, I did play outside. Keep the kids off the couch and active, cook good meals and we won’t have these problems.

    http://wheyoptimum.net/

  25. Melissa November 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Whatever happened to people making their own informed decisions? I guess the people of San Francisco think their citizens are not capable of this…

    What’s next? Will people who sell motorcycles have to start making models that won’t go faster than 20 mph, because people might get hurt?

    • saradyanne November 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

      Wouldn´t it be wonderful if people were capable of that? But our country is fatter than ever, and as others have said, eating habits begin with what you are taught as a child. If parents are too dumb or lazy to feed their children well, something like this can only help. Let´s hope it might lead to people being able to make better choices as parents and for their own eating habits.

  26. bmj2k November 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Instead of a ban, how about better nutritional education? Banning something doesn’t change the fundamental thought process that leads to wanting to buy something. It simply forces people into other choices instead of leading them to making their own right choices.

    • realdealbasile November 6, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

      I think bmj2k has the right outlook. This really strikes me as superficial attempt at a fundamental problem. Keeping up with the science of nutrition is hard enough. Once you add marketing spin on top of that, it takes a lot of effort to figure out the effects of what you put in your body.

      A much better direction is to require nutritional disclosure in plain language. When restaurants started posting nutritional info for there menus, I was shocked at the amount of saturated fat in a lot of things, so I avoided them.

      As long as parents are able to remain ignorant of the effects of what they feed their kids, they won’t feel appropriately bad about doing it.

  27. kelliefish13 November 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Don’t know about America but in UK and some other country instead of having fries and coke with Happy meal you can instead have a bag of fruit and milk or water, which is slightly better but still not the best (I however as an adult love the apple slices and flavoured milk with my cheeseburger craving as a very occasional treat).
    Getting rid of Mcdonalds altogether is my favourite option.

  28. TonyVote November 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    BRAVO! It’s about time someone does something about this mess. McDonald’s has used the advertising ploy of “Toys” to collect money from parents with nagging kids while making them increasingly fat! While I can’t say that I wasn’t subject to the “Mommy, lets go to McDonald’s they have a really cool new toy, and I just have to have it,” I can say that I have changed my ways and definitely won’t succumb to the advertising giants when I have kids. Great find! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Jennifer November 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Good for San Francisco. I wish they had that when I ate fast food. Cause really, it just made you crave more.

    Mmm, empty calories.

  30. Aligaeta November 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Lets generate conversation to support change! http://aligaeta.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/the-family-weighs-in/

  31. ercreditrestoration November 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    Was this Mcdonald’s choice to pull the toys or do you think they received pressure to do so? I really want to know

    http://ERcreditrestoration.com Credit Repair Service

  32. Jacob Petty November 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    Bravo for San Francisco. It’s nice to see a whole city take part in making the lives of our kids better.

  33. notesfromrumbleycottage November 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    Wow, great. what an idea. But the truth of the matter is McDonald’s has been offering fruit instead of fries for many years. When I was pregnant with my six year old, I would get a double cheeseburger Mighty Kids meal w/apples if I was on the road with work and need to eat remotely healthy. And I had to because I was gestational diabetic.

    Do you know what would be truly revolutionary? If this fruit option can with the adult meals as well as the kid meal without having to order it all separately.

    • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:52 am #

      NotesfromRumbley: What would be even more revolutionary is if people such as yourself stopped ordering double cheeseburgers and started ordering the many tasty and healthy salads offered at McD’s.

  34. Andrea Simpson - Conflicted Mean Girl November 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    Are toys in Happy Meals really the cause of the childhood obesity epidemic? I doubt it. Why regulate something like this? The problem is inactivity, video games, sedentary lifestyle. It is not McDonalds’ responsibility to balance meals accompanied by toys. As far as I understand it the general public is vastly against the idea of regulating how and when McDonald’s can dole out toys with their Happy Meals. Is the next step that the government will dictate (yes I meant DICTATE) that I must order a bag of apples if I’m going to also get fries to “ensure healthy eating”? Please.. people need to take responsibility for their own children and the eating habits they develop. The government has absolutely no place here.

  35. FingersTX November 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I agree with the premise that we’re not eating healthy and we look it. But pulling the give-away toys is too negative. The kids are always going to connect the loss of the toys with “eating healthy,” not exactly what was intended, I’ll bet. My husband and I both think this is just another example of well-intentioned, overly enthusiastic people going TOO FAR to make a point. Think before you act!

  36. Elizabeth November 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    I feel like people just need to be more responsible for what their children eat; they do have control over what they eat; maybe the answer isn’t getting rid of them but instead actually just not getting the easiest thing to keep the kids happy….

  37. Gerrit November 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    It’s surprising how many people seem to think this is a good idea. What else would you like your government to tell you not to do? Or, really, to tell other people what not to do? I feel that support of this measure automatically implies a feeling of superiority on the part of the supporter, over those who are perceived to deserve the regulation.

  38. lukucence November 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    I don’t think banning Happy Meals will make a huge difference. Kids aren’t going in there by themselves to buy it, the parents are. The same way they have GED classes and learning English classes, why not have free Health classes? The whole point is to educate. The kids don’t know healthy habits because the parents have not been educated in healthy eating habits.

    http://lukucence.wordpress.com/

  39. Ava Aston's Muckery November 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    I respectfully McDisagree with your McBlog today!

    I hope the owners of the McDonald’s in San Fran-McCisco decide to just close their doors instead of caving in and having a city government tell them what they can and can no do inside their own place of McBusiness.

    McBlessings,

    Ava
    xox

  40. spiralmewtrix November 5, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    This reminded me of the episode of South Park in which KFC is banned from Colorado.

  41. carol November 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    The burden should be on the parents and not the restaurant.
    The PARENTS should set the example of exposing their children and consuming with their children a healthy spectrum of fruit and veggies and everything else. The Happy Meals should remain as is – a quick, rare, “on the road” vacation treat or a rare reward. NOT diner two nights a week.

  42. Polly November 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    You know, the best thing about the Happy Meal was that it made the kids happy. I know it sounds trite, but it really did. There’s more fat in the milk shake than the Cola drink, but somehow, I always felt happier when that was the choice.
    Toys were something of a bonus, but just imagine the UNhappiness caused if only select meals had toys, and the mountains of browned fruit that would fill the bins 😦

  43. braynoha November 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Really people, we need the government to tell us if we can buy our kids a Happy Meal. We need a PSA to tell us to be good role models to our kids or to eat healthy? I doubt the founding fathers intended for the government to micromanage. The government decides to parent our children were in deep trouble,,,, ohhh too late. The Free People of the US ?

  44. butterbeanskitchen November 5, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    It is really great to have so many passionate people dialoguing about what is best for our children. They certainly deserve our attention.

    There is a saying, that with great success, comes great responsibility. McDonalds has had wonderful success as a business, worldwide. Our modern world is dealing with an obesity epidemic that affects all of us – more of our tax money must go to health care and taking care of our friends and neighbors who are suffering more heart disease, diabetes and cancer, that can all be changed, with a change in eating habits. Namely, more whole foods and more fruits and vegetables. We believe that McDonalds can be a part of the solution, as many eyes and appetites are already eating at the golden arches.

    I personally remember loving my 7 year birthday party I had at McDonalds. I loved it. If I understood that the food I ate was contributing to the sickness of people I loved around me, (most of us can think of one person in our life who has been affected by diabetes, heart disease or cancer) I might have been less excited about it. Of course, that wasn’t the case when I was seven, nor was it the case for many of you. When I was a kid, there was a lot more outside time, there was very little screen time and there was enough healthy meals to balance out the occasional Happy Meal.

    Times have changed and many people are very sick. Type 2 diabetes was not long ago called adult onset diabetes. The name was changed because children as young as 7 years old were getting diagnosed.

    Banning the Happy Meal, or changing it up to meet healthier guidelines is not going to end the obesity epidemic. But this, along with many other efforts that include education, visiting farms, having fun cooking food in our homes and with our neighbors, will turn the tide.

  45. lifeintheboomerlane November 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    An occassional McDonalds hamburger, in itself, won’t make anyone obese or kill them. But here’s the problem: McDonalds and other fast food are starting to take the place of real meals for many people. And sadly, children are paying the price. It’s going to take education (for parents, as well as children), modification of fast food ingredients (McDonalds french fries have already changed), and a change in advertising policy. Any huge problem (and childhood obesity is now exactly that) takes a variety of approaches to solve.

  46. Soccer Mom November 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    I’m not against change one bit, but I’m not sure it’s in the best interest of the country to have government legislate either our eating habits or business practices…and I’m a liberal! That being said, I am also worried about this backfiring on the obesity epidemic. We should teach kids not to have feelings–good or bad–about food. Perhaps if I had been taught that I wouldn’t have such a difficult time getting fit as an adult. I think it would also be great if healthy food cost less than the junk, because quite honestly where I live there is a lot of poverty (rural part of Virginia) and it is just cheaper to eat the junk food. I have seen it very frequently in the school system where I worked. And it’s sad. When I make something with asparagus and kids are SHOCKED that they like it it’s just sad their own parents didn’t feed it to them. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  47. lschaibley November 5, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    And kids are obese because their parents don’t know how to say NO. A Happy Meal once or twice a month is NOT going to make your kid obese. Start with examining what they are eating in your own home first. Obese children don’t get enough exercise. Stop trying to keep your child occupied with games that do nothing but let him/her sit on the sofa all day with a controler in their hands. And if you take your kid to McDonalds or Burger King every day of the week, then who is to blame if they are obese. Moderation and common sense works a heck of a lot better than government intervention.

  48. wagnerowicz November 5, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    What ever happened to personal responsbility? My very healthy 6 year old daughter goes to fast food places MAYBE 3 times a year. But when she does, as is her right, why should she suffer because other parents are lazy and irresponsible? This stuff isn’t so horrific if you eat it once in awhile and not all the time. McDonald’s has the right to serve whatever they like just as Americans have the right to eat whatever they like. These fast food places were meant to be for an occassional treat, not your daily dinner. The information about healthy and not healthy food is everywhere and there is no excuse not to know what is good or bad for you.

    http://wagnerowicz.wordpress.com/

  49. mypurplehoneyjar November 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    This is absolutely inspiring!
    I wonder how long it will take South Africa to wisen up?

  50. Brian Satterlee November 5, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    I would love to see all fast food become healthier… but I still do like hamburgers. Oh, and pizza. Beer is good too. Ok, let’s just make things healthier for the kids and our country will be a great place to live.

  51. brennabronx November 5, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    I personally think this is crap. I work at McDonald’s. Yeah, our burgers may be pretty unhealthy, I won’t deny that. And I do think that chicken (much healthier) should be offered as an option for the Happy Meal like it is for adults. But we offer fruit smoothies, apple or orange juice, milk, all as substitutes for the soda. We also have apple dippers (apple slices with caramel dip) that can be subbed in for the fries. The whole point of a Happy Meal is the toy! Without the toy, it is just a Mini Meal. It’s not a Happy Meal at all 😦

  52. purrrentice November 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Though I understand obesity is becoming a real issue in the country and measures need to be taken to promote healthy eating habits, I think it’s silly to require the Happy Meal to change. When I was a kid, going to McDonald’s was a treat, not a regular replacement for lunch or dinner. Also, I never thought of the toy as a reward for eating junk. It was part of what made the Happy Meal “Happy.” I think parents should take responsibility for what their children eat on a daily basis, not blame fast food chains and junk food for existing. Honestly, one Happy Meal every week or two is not what makes kids fat, it is the result of bad lifestyle choices made by parents. Shame on any mommy or daddy who frequently serves fast food as an adequate meal for their growing children, rather than cooking a healthy dinner or picking-up a healthier option at the grocery store.

    • em5459 November 6, 2010 at 11:03 am #

      exactly right! Its the parents fault kids are so fat now days. Slobby adults creating slobby children. Parents should step up and take responsibility- its not McDonald’s fault you feed your kids crap every day!

  53. kwilli09 November 5, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    This is a really awesome idea and I really hope that other McDonalds follow in the same footsteps. I mean, yeah it was always cool getting toys with your meal but thats like rewarding kids for eating unhealthy. It’s really awesome.

  54. Sophie November 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

    I’m so glad to see this article – I don’t understand why anyone would be upset about it. It’s not like they’re setting unreasonable limitations – these guidelines are just BARELY considered healthy for an adult, and are still very high-calorie for children. This is definitely a step in the right direction, since obviously leaving it up to parents isn’t working out.

    http://habitualme.wordpress.com

  55. Reggie November 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    It hasn’t been the same for me since they got rid of Grimace:
    http://www.bofads.com/stories/helpmascots.htm

  56. Sister Earth Organics November 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    First–congrats on your FP status–I’m jealous
    I am all for getting kids to eat healthy, but I don’t believe a city mandating a business to change its policies no matter how big it is, is the answer

    This is a complex issue. The truth is that child obesity is caused by:
    –poor eating habits all day long…at home…school…before bedtime because of their parent’s poor eating habits
    –lack of exercise….working your thumbs on a video game does not count as activity
    –introduction of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats in most packaged foods….McDonalds beef used to come from cows that grazed in fields…no more
    –lack of time for meals—it has to be fast!!- kids would starve without microwaves
    –families are not sitting down to eat together, so eating “times” are blurred and meals are rushed–eating “on the run” causes you to consume up to 30% more calories than eating at a normal pace.

    Things are changing….but it’s slow and it’s going to take a change in attitude which can take decades……

  57. The Red DM November 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    I predict a winfall for McDonalds and similar restaurants who will replace the fries in their meals with apple slices, and watch the parent who let their kids get the old Happy Meals by an additional fries on the side.

  58. smcgamer November 5, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    I can’t agree with this law.

    The government of San Francisco is now telling me what I can and can’t eat? All under the premise that they know better than the parents themselves? This is outrageous. What’s next? A total ban on all foods containing more than 600 calories?

  59. mardra November 5, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    McDonalds isn’t responsible for rewarding kids for their eating choices; kids don’t get to pick where they eat. Parents pick where kids eat and parents pick how their children are rewarded. In fact, I think the toy has always been a consolation prize for forcing kids to eat – well, crap from fast food joints that doesn’t even taste like food. Scary.
    Not that I don’t LOVE McDonalds french fries, I do. But everything in moderation. Oh Right . . .
    But I digress. Thanks for the post and the chance to rant a moment.

  60. Renjie Abraham November 5, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    This only makes sense in an age of government healthcare. The only way to keep the cost of care down is to regulate away unhealthy choices. Expect to see a lot more of this.

  61. Paul November 5, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    Only the people of San Francisco would vote to legalize marijuana and ban toys in the Happy Meal. This is the same kind of anti-business thinking that is killing jobs and forcing the state to go bankrupt. Disguised as free thinkers, Liberals are really control freaks.

  62. Linda in Lancaster November 6, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    Read “Fast Food Nation” and you would never ever feed your children (or yourself) fast food ever again! Kudos to San Francisco to take a stand for health! My daughter never liked meat as a child or as an adult. She would eat vegetables by choice! and does to this day. I wish I could be as disciplined as she is. Rule of thumb: If you can stick your arm out the window and grab a bag full of food, DON’T EAT IT!!

  63. Jonathan Wells November 6, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    While it’s undoubtedly important to eat healthy, moves like this turn government into personal nutrionists for all of us. There are already limits on salt and trans-fat content in other cities, and if you’re going to go down this route, why not mandate portion sizes and calorie counts to get restaurant licenses, tax soda or ban it altogether, maybe regulate the distance between a candy store and a school?

    Regulation cannot and should not be a replacement for personal responsibility. Some may get a thrill that this is “stickin’ it” to big bad corporate McDonald’s, but that has nothing to do with nutrition and the purported point of the law.

    Even San Fran mayor Gavin Newsom thinks this is a dumb idea. In the end, it won’t change anything except to point out the reality of a creeping nanny state, and that there really are people who believe they know how you can raise your kids and live your life much better than you do.

    • mayrant November 6, 2010 at 8:50 am #

      Amen…Although I do get a little nervous when I agree with Gavin Newsom on anything.

  64. enjoibeing November 6, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    This is a wonderful idea. remove the toy from bad food and kids will finally see how bad mcnasty truly is.

    http://enjoibeing.wordpress.com/

  65. perfectperfectionist November 6, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    Definitely a step in the right direction, and it’s all an important part of a change that needs to be made. I never understand it when people say they don’t like fruits or vegetables – there are so many, with so many different flavours!

  66. Maureen November 6, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    I totally agree with you! We have to be careful what we feed our children. They are our future and we should be doing everything in our power to help them avoid suffering from a lot of the illness that have been associated with the obesity epidemic.

  67. Kevin Venerus November 6, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    McDonalds always gets the blame for obesity in this country. What about all the other fast food places? All you can eat buffets? How about the junk sold in grocery stores? Fruit Loops is marketed as low fat, and high in whole grains. What ever, it is junk and full of sugar. I’m not defending McDonalds, but it seems they always get the blame.

    • smcgamer November 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

      So all food should be salads? Sugar is no better than cyanide? Good tasing food will kill you?

      What would you eat?

      • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:09 am #

        Sugar is no better than cyanide? say what? Could you clarify that because it appears to be wayyyy out in left field.

        Fruit Loops is good-tasting food? Woah you really need to shop in the produce section of Sobeys – avoid the cereal and candy aisle until you learn what good tasting food really is.

        Yes sugar can kill you….It is responsible for diabetes type II – these people aren’t born with this condition they bring it on themselves due to an excessive amount of sugar in the diet. Long-term complications from high blood sugar can include increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, amputation, and kidney failure.

        Who mentioned salads? Good-tasting healthy foods are boundless….if you ate a healthy diet you would know that.

      • smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

        Given enough time, anything can kill you. “Sugar is no better than cyanide” means that people think sugar is evil, and any at all will increase your risks. Sugar and candy and sweet cereals aren’t the best choices, but everything in moderation.

        The point is other people are now telling us how we should live our lives. They tell us we shouldn’t eat junk food because it will kill us, but they ignore the fact that junk food won’t hurt you if eaten in moderation.

        Sorry if I seem too angry over this, but I don’t want to be told how I should live my life.

  68. uplbvaughn November 6, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    this is really cool! because when I was in elementary, I would usually buy these not because I was hungry but because I wanted the toy. now you can order food and reward yourself with the toy.

  69. madaire November 6, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    Why blame the companies that you or your kids have no self control? Your kid is throwing an embarassing fit in front of everyone because they want a happy meal toy, so what? Say no. Who’s the parent? How about next time, don’t tempt your child by taking them to McDonalds to begin with?

    I like fast food; who are the government and other people to tell me I am not able to eat something that they’ve already deemed safe for public consumption? I don’t eat it all the time, but I like the choice. I don’t like my choices taken away because others don’t understand how to control themselves.

    ‘Oh, but the commercials, the ads! Everywhere! In your face! Tempting us and our children into obesity and heart disease!’ They’re just ads.

    • smcgamer November 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

      Right on. I like fast food as well, and I’m sick of its perpetual assault by the government and the media.

    • helthnut November 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

      The main point I get from your reply is you like the choice to eat (garbage) but you just don’t eat it all the time….that’s one of the points i make in my answer to this blog Ban Obese Kids from Eating Happy Meals.

      BTW I’m glad you like eating junk on occasion. I’m happy you are proud of belonging to a nation with the highest obesity stats in the world. Good for you….I think.

      • smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

        I myself am not obese. I don’t advocate junk food 24/7, but I don’t want to tell others how to live. If they want to be fat, so be it. Like my grandmother said, “I want to die fat and happy.”

        And why is it garbage? High amounts of fat and calories (which are energy)?

  70. peteisip November 6, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    I agree with SF and glad that they are taking action. Its important to this country to stop or at least minimize this epidemic. To be honest I hated getting double toys anyway. And if the toy is an awesome one, then they will buy the happy meal whether or not the meal is healthy. They will automatically associate healthy food with “cool” toys.

  71. healthy water November 6, 2010 at 3:33 am #

    The eating habits of a region, in the constant evolving. But health is very important, not subject to the shackles of habit, is the real way to eliminate fat

    • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:13 am #

      Agreed – especially eating habits are constantly evolving. But there are other elements of food that need work – not necessarily to eliminate – like sugar and salt. Healthy fat from food should be included in a diet because body fat builds the immune system and helps the body to stay warm in the cold. But that isn’t the kind of fat you get from a HM.

      • smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

        There are three kinds of fats – saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Fat itself is a chain of carbon, and carbon bonds with a lot of stuff, though fat bonds with hydrogen. Saturated fats have all those bonds filled, monounsaturated has one of the bonds unfilled (the carbon instead links with each other) and polyunsaturated (multiple bonds are unfilled).

        Fat is basically stored biological energy. If used, it will not stay too long. If unused, they will build up.

        (trans fats not listed here because they are already banned)

  72. evilcyber November 6, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    Hopefully you will also teach these children that organic doesn’t equal low calorie:

    http://evilcyber.com/2010/10/14/junk-food-is-like-heroin/

  73. Stevie November 6, 2010 at 4:12 am #

    I agree that it’s a good move. I’m still a little concerned that a 600 calorie meal for a small child is a “healthy meal”, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    yankeeintexas.wordpress.com

  74. me llamo brown November 6, 2010 at 4:47 am #

    This is great! My mom is a super organic hippie super healthy eater who worked a lot when I was little, meaning my dad gave me a lot of happy meals. As an adult I avoid fast food, but I do think it would be easier if I didn’t develop the love for it as a child.

  75. Yolanda Postell November 6, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    I think it is a great idea. However I have to agree with those individuals that stated the parents are responsible for the food served to their children. There are many children that eat McDonald’s so much that “burger, fry” must have been their first words. Parents need to teach their children about proper nutrition. My 15 year old son refuses to eat anything that has too much sugar and is partially hydrogenated. He is proof that children can make the proper food choices if they are educated to do so.

  76. wawakelin11 November 6, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    Color is very comfortable.

  77. Devin November 6, 2010 at 5:41 am #

    As an employee of McDonald’s and a citizen of the United States of America. You cannot blame McDonald’s for what they do. Parents should be the ones who stop children from buying happy meals. If they go out and by these happy meals it is their fault. McDonald’s isn’t forcing these foods into the mouths of our children. That is the parent’s themselves. McDonald’s is a business doing what it does, it is an employer and many people across the country have a job through this large company. Stopping the happy meal won’t make obesity go away. People don’t have to go and eat at McDonald’s it’s the people’s choice of where they eat, so this ridiculous thought of banning happy meals is idiotic. There is no point. Next time you go out look and see how many 6 – 10 year olds are buying the happy meal themselves. Who drives them to McDonald’s? The parents not some big corporate big wig.

    • Emily Gooch November 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      Exactly… people/parents need to accept more self-responsibility. When I had a bakery, a man actually came up to me and told me “Do you know you are making people fat selling that kind of stuff?” After my initial shock, I told him with a smile “Well, you and they have a choice to not eat it.” He wasn’t happy with my answer, called me names and stormed off. Unfortunately, there will always be those people who rather stuff their face, and then try place blame on others for their poor choices.

  78. Adam Miller November 6, 2010 at 5:53 am #

    Great post.

  79. theweeklyargus November 6, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    This is such a terrific idea! Thank God McDonald’s is stepping up and playing the role of a parent these days. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a major restaurant chain step up and tell a child what he should and shouldn’t be eating when his parents just can’t seem to do it.

    • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:18 am #

      Agreed. Interestingly Government can intervene when people don’t care properly for their animals. Animals who are extremely obese (a cat for instance) can be removed from their home by the Humane Society (not for putting them down) so they can be fed properly and returned to the owner when at a healthy weight.

      Clearly no one is suggesting to do that with children (!!) but Government certainly cares enough about the health of animals because the law that gives them the right to remove poorly fed animals from homes is Cruelty Toward Animals.

      I’m glad they’re stepping up about kids. It’s about time.

    • Devin November 8, 2010 at 4:28 am #

      Actually It’s not Mcdonald’s it’s the people of California that has taken MCD’s and other fast food businesses to try and get them to stop selling Happy Meals.

      http://www.katu.com/news/local/106860453.html

  80. batikmania November 6, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    Good idea. And you said this: “At Butter Beans, we see children who think they don’t like fruits and vegetables, find they like them – every single day.” I strongly agree with it. It just require a little support & effort from us, parents and teachers to force them a little bit. They still need it. I wrote about that on my blog a while ago. Check this put if you wish: http://batikmania.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/a-little-force-will-do/

  81. zerohundred November 6, 2010 at 6:16 am #

    I know that our country is dealing with obesity in children, but is this really necessary? I have fond memories of getting an occasional Happy Meal back when I was a kid. It was a special treat. Although I can see why this is a good idea, it makes me kind of sad.

  82. allycatadventures November 6, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    San Francisco – Socialists!

  83. TheHarvestGuy November 6, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    Children are mirrors of their world. Nicholas is 5 and Zach is 2, I am so proud of my little people because they love veggies. Just today my almost three year old came outside when I arrived home from work to tell me my salad was ready.
    As I sat down to eat he came to beg food from me. I shared some brocli and lettuce and celery with him and he said thats good. I hope they carry it thru adulthood.
    I am glad when good things come from my birth place. I’m just one proud Dad.

  84. zebraremovals November 6, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    I’m not in favour of a ban.

    I think happy meals with toys are fine, as a treat, not as a regular meal.

    Fast food should be something people, including children, have every now and then.

    We all need to eat a healthy, well balanced diet but a treat now and again is fine, it keeps us happy and smiling and that’t an important part of life as well.

    Cheshire house removalsand man and vanservices

    • helthnut November 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

      If only we learned how to define treat properly….in primitive parts of the world a healthy wriggly grub bug is a treat for kids to eat (if I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’) Teaching kids that junk food is a treat is part of the problem.

  85. Khairul Idzwan November 6, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    Greetings from Malaysia.

    Well, while I think that the intention of the SF government is good, I personally do not think that it is a great idea. Applying my situation here in Malaysia, it’s not the kids who buy McValue meals themselves, it’s the parents. Even if McD changed its menu to conform with the regulation, as long as the parents decide to buy unhealthy foods, the kids will still eat em’.

    I think it’s all goes to the parents, how they wanna treat their children. Kids love McValue meals because of its toys and also the food. McD has become part and partial of our lives. The image projected is that a cool toy will be the kid’s if they buy McValue meals. Like in Malaysia, if McD is to change its menu to healthy ones, and the kids don’t like the taste, the parents may not buy McD’s McValue meals, but they can still buy KFC’s Chicky Meals.

    So it’s all about the parents. How they wanna treat their children. It’s not the menu that need to be changed but the mindset of the parents. It’s better to give your kids a home-cooked meals where you know what the nutrients are, rather than to go to McD and buy meals that may not be that healthy as they claimed.

  86. Stewy November 6, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    WOW, it’s a step in the right direction! I never thought I would see a bold move like this for a while…

  87. Marcos Gonzales November 6, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    This ban is just a load of crap. Let’s be honest, what has happened to responsible parenting in this story? If you are not able to tell your kids they are not getting a happy meal, then you should not have kids at all. The toys make absolutely no difference and I am 100% sure that kids still want to have a meal at the McDonald. I wrote a blog this topic myself. Just to share my thoughts about this.Because I believe this is just another law to prevent bad parenting from happening.

    http://experification.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-end-of-mcdonald-is-near/

    • Joel Sullivan November 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

      Wow, I guess there are other smart people in this world, I was beginning to lose hope. Keep up the fight for common sense!

  88. em5459 November 6, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Why should McDonald’s be punished because kids are getting fatter? There were toys with happy meals when I was a kid and there was no obesity epidemic then.
    Frankly the issue is not the toy but the lack of common sense parents have about feeding and educating their kids on healthy meals.
    We eat out once a week as a treat, not always at McDonalds, but I dont think my son has ever gotten excited over McDonalds just because there is a toy involved- he is excited because its junk food as opposed to my cooking (I’m not that bad) usually hes forgotten about the toy by the end of the drive home.
    If the government wants kids to live longer, healthier lives they should be doing more to educate kids and their parents on healthy eating.
    Its a crappy band aid solution, that will have no affect.

  89. apri10 November 6, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    that’s good!

  90. Danniel November 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    I’m not a kid, so if I buy an unhealthy happy meal can I still get a toy?

    I’m kinda of the opinion that maybe kids shouldn’t be allowed to eat unhealthy foods. Kids can’t smoke, and kids can’t drink, and eating unhealthy will definitely shorten a person’s lifespan, so should kids who aren’t aware of how bad food can be to them, especially when so many bad foods taste so good, be allowed to eat as much as they want? Of course it’s up to the parents. I mean if parents wanted, and some do, they could give their kids cigarettes and alcohol before their of legal age, and actually to an extent I’m okay with the alcohol part, because it’s less addicting than cigarettes I’ve found, so I believe that kids should be able to have the occasional unhealthy snack, but maybe there should be some kind of limit on how much unhealthy food a parent can feed their child.

    God I love McDonalds fries. So salty, so greasy, so good.

    • smcgamer November 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

      Who sets what is healthy and what is not?

      Tobacco and alcohol can be defined because they are easy to define. “Unhealthy” food – not so much.

      And what happens if those who set the mark for “healthy foods” choose to set it lower. Maybe less than 50 calories a meal, and no fat whatsoever.

      • helthnut November 7, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

        The FDA and nutrition experts are probably more qualified to define what is healthy food and what is not. Even the layman on the street should know that one: tossed salad vs french fries? hmmm that’s a tough call

  91. lochgarry November 6, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s our grandmother made sure that we ate our greens at least three/four times a week. On Fridays, we were allowed enough money to go buy one candy bar at the corner market.

    Good dietary habits instilled in growing children will last a lifetime. I see too many overweight children in my travels. It is true— it is the parents’ responsibility, but how many parents grew up with good food habits.

    Good food habits require proper education and discipline. One of the best legacies that parents can give their children is proper nutrition.

    Thanks for this wonderful blog. Keep up the good fight-children are the future, and let’s all do what we can to keep them in optimal health.

  92. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson November 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    My family hates fast food, we never eat at McDonald’s, and I couldn’t get my child to eat anything off the menu as he doesn’t consider any of it to be “food.” That said, I don’t like the idea of people making decisions about what others can or cannot eat.

    And as far as this problem “all boiling down to eating habits,” I would beg to differ. People need to get their kids off the computers, away from their video games, away from their iPod Touches and tell them to go outside and play. Yes, even in the winter when it is freezing cold outside. Yes, even when it is 90 degrees. They’ll be okay.

    http://rasjacobson.wordpress.com

    • smcgamer November 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

      I’m a little sick of the whole movement against things that are fun, such as using computers, or eating junk food. These things are not inherently bad, they can be overused, but they shouldn’t be banned just because they have the potential to be abused.

  93. iammenot2beconfu5edwu November 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Whenever there is a cool toy at McDonald’s (usually that’s where all the COOL toys are! haha), I go there and buy the toy. Sometimes I’ll even buy a couple of their Happy Meal boxes (isn’t it a total sham when they gave the Happy Meal in a BAG?). I make my kids a healthy lunch at home, then present it to them in the box with the toy, and voila! A TRULY Happy Meal! =D Plenty of times I don’t even do that, though. When they had the My Little Pony toys, I bought all of them (about $1 a toy) and saved them for stocking stuffers. We don’t actually buy or eat the crap they call food.

  94. jean-philippe November 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    1. Today’s happy meal is the size of the adult menu in the 1960’s.

    2. I guess the McLawyers are already on their way to challenge that.

  95. iammenot2beconfu5edwu November 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    I find it hilarious when people say a Happy Meal should be a “treat”. I can’t even see how it passes as FOOD, let alone a treat! Ewww… I do agree that once a week or month is better than everyday or more than once a day. Not at all ideal.

    And I also agree, how about the parents wake up and start feeding their kids healthy meals? Seems to me there are too many lazy parents out there. However, I’m not going to say all parents are, because I’m not, and I have several mom & dad friends who cook healthy meals for their families too.

  96. The Shameless Idealist November 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    I’m glad that SOMEONE decided to do something about it. Although I agree entirely with this, it’s too bad that measures such as these must be taken because an alarmingly large percentage of parents can’t/don’t do their jobs properly!
    I personally refuse to eat at McDonalds, and my son isn’t allowed to eat there either. He’s only 4, but I always talk to him about the food he consumes. I tell him why certain foods are good or bad, and I even allow him to make his own healthy food choices based on the information he already knows. I want him to become a conscious consumer. I also make sure that he gets plenty of outdoor activity, we enrolled him in a gymnastics class and I also forbid him to play any computer or video games for more than 15-20 minutes (depending on the game of course). We also don’t use the TV as a babysitter, and encourage creativity and critical thinking through other educational means. But see? I’m his parent and I see it as my job to educate my child. I know that the TV and video game discussion is a whole other bag of chips, but they are part of a whole. I wish more parents took the time to truly educate their kids; among all the other benefits, the child obesity rates would certainly not be what they are today.

  97. Joel Sullivan November 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Leave it to California and SF to lead the charge in taking away freedom. Really, what don’t you people understand? McDonald’s is a privately owned company, what right does SF have to tell it what it can and can not serve? Okay so the Happy Meal is marketed towards kids, so are hundreds of other products. Were acting like kids have money to buy this own there own. The great thing about being a mom or a dad is that you get to choose that your kid eats while he’s at home. Now if this were a school and the state stepped in and told them to stop serving junk that one thing but to tell a company (that pays taxes to operate in the state) that they can’t serve a toy with a meal is BS.

    • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 2:04 am #

      Joel: you said:Leave it to California and SF to lead the charge in taking away freedom.
      What does that mean? Are they known for taking away people’s freedom? Could you provide an example?

      You said: but to tell a company (that pays taxes to operate in the state) that they can’t serve a toy with a meal is BS.

      Every company and grocery store in the states is dictated as to what it can serve and the quality of it by the government and thank God for that. Allow me to offer an example: E. coli bacteria are found naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. If people become infected with these bacteria, the infection can result in serious illness. Several other types of E. coli can also infect people and cause illness.

      Government inspection of warehouse foods are a regular practice as is Health and Safety showing up at the back door of restaurants and groceries all the time to ensure that food is being stored and prepared safely.

      Government is trying to step in and regulate fat amounts in food to keep children safe. Kudos to them I say.

      • smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

        E. coli is a really awful parasite that can kill you in days or weeks. Fats and sugar will not kill you if taken in moderation. An obese child is at least a little better off than one dying of E. coli infestation.

        Am I correct in saying that your opinion is that junk food is quite terrible for people, to be regarded as garbage. If so, what would you have us eat?

  98. blackwatertown November 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Good idea. If people still want to eat at McDonalds they can – but there’s less child grooming to contend with.
    Apparently McD’s in the UK offers quiet a different and supposedly healthier range than in the US – more emphasis on salad and fruit. Perhaps because of the various public health campaigns against the chain. Maybe someone who has experience of both states recently can confirm or refute this.
    I tend not to go myself – my daughter has unexpectedly grown into an implacable enemy of the chain, and wonders how it is that the police do not have the power to bulldoze almost every outlet, leaving a maximum of one per country. Seem a bit extreme.

  99. lakmi November 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    well.. why can’t this be done to moderation?
    mcdonalds once in 2 months.. once in a month.. won’t hurt.. right?
    consider teh whole meal as a treat for doing something good at home.
    and not as a day to day meal option

  100. LDMartin1959 November 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    How’z this for an idea: Since drunken driving is such an epidemic, no store that sells alcohol can sell gasoline, and no gas station that sells gas can sell alcohol?

    How’z this for an idea: Since financial fraud is such an epidemic, no business that sells anything can offer financing?

    How’z this for an idea: Since voter fraud is such an epidemic, no person who in anyway is affected by any proposed legislation can vote?

    Liberals love to claim “it takes a village to raise a child” as their excuse to tell others how to raise their kids and how to live their lives. so, how’z this for an idea: Since I am part of that village, ***I*** get to tell ***you*** how to raise your kids and how to live your life?

  101. E.Crosby104-01 November 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I think that is really stupid because the only reason kids like the happy meal is because of the toy inside. Mcdonald food is never healthy either way. They make there food with a huge ammount of grease.

  102. offthebean November 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    People who enjoy and would like to keep the freedom of eating fast food without government intervention have their points. I, too, believe that government shouldn’t stick their noses into too many issues. But this is an issue of health, and it gets sticky here. After all, we have health regulations regarding suitable dosage amounts for drugs, so why not food?

    Not to mention, we must understand, while those who are living comfortably in middle class can opt out of the dollar menu to enjoy a nice Italian meal somewhere, those in the lower income bracket at forced to take their family and kids to these cheap places. There’s really very few options if they want to keep the family fed, given their conditions. I think we really should consider the common good of all when approaching this issue.

    Besides, is taking a few hundred calories off your Mickey D’s gonna hurt you that bad or make the food tasteless? Give me a break.

  103. JW November 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    You gotta love “solutions” that don’t solve anything. Yet another example of politicians screwing around with trivial issues in order to avoid to the real problems out there.

  104. Leslie D. Martin November 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Allow me to provide a few excerpts from the news story “Childhood obesity an ‘exaggeration'” .

    Australia’s childhood obesity problem is an “exaggeration” and calls for a junk food tax will do little to relieve the poverty that is its major driver, an expert says.

    The rate of childhood obesity among low income families was almost double that seen across middle and high income families, said Dr Jennifer O’Dea from the University of Sydney.

    She said a tax on junk foods, as called for by a rising number of health experts, would only place extra financial strain on those families….

    And while not downplaying the serious health problems that flow from a life of obesity, Dr O’Dea also said the scale of this problem for Australian children has become increasingly overblown.

    “People have to stop exaggerating the numbers about childhood obesity – that’s not to say that it is not an issue but you know, hysteria, fear campaigns and exaggeration are not very scientific,” said Dr O’Dea, who is Associate Professor in Health Education and Nutrition.

    Dr O’Dea attributes much of the alarm surrounding the issue today to a sharp rise in childhood obesity in the 1980s and ’90s, which was forecast to continue but had not materialised.

    In Australia, for example, just one per cent of boys and 0.8 per cent of girls were obese in 1985 and this increased to 5.4 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively in 1996. More than a decade later, in 2008, obesity in Australian children was found to be 5.3 per cent for boys – a slight decrease – and 5.9 per cent for girls.

  105. aucunknowntruths November 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    This is really awesome and greatly heartening. I would like to think that when I become a health professional that 1 out of 5 Americans do not suffer from Diabetes (uptodate.com).

  106. Frank Lee MeiDere November 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    Thank God! When will people realise that it is it not in their best interests to make up their own minds? Free-thinking CANNOT be tolerated for the good of the children. Or for old people. Or for adults. Or for anyone. Over the past 30 to 40 years we have been waking up to the fact that only the government and the research institutes it funds can be relied upon to help us lead our lives.

    Of course, the best idea would be to completely ban all junk food, but in the meantime why don’t we enact legislation that all junk food be dyed an unappetising colour? That should help cut down on the consumption of junk food until such times as our the wiser heads of state can get their act in gear to ban it.

    The founding fathers would be proud.

    • smcgamer November 13, 2010 at 4:49 am #

      Some arguments for you:

      1. Let’s say you’re buying something, but then, some government represetative comes up to you and says “It is not in your best interest to buy this product.” And he won’t let you buy anything, because you have reached your “purchase limit” for today and will have to wait until tomorrow to buy it.

      2. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Imagine a government with total control over absolutely every aspect of your life. What you eat, what you buy, where you spend your time, how much you talk, who you talk to, and what you say. Can you imagine what would happen if some power-hungry dictator got into power?

      3. The nation was founded on the principles of individual freedom and free will. Total government control was what they were trying to escape when the Pilgrims set off from England.

      4. Electing officials is an act of free will. This contradicts your opinion.

      • butterbeanskitchen December 8, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

        I appreciate your comments. It is true that part of what makes our nation great is this principle of individual freedom and free will. However to not acknowledge that my free will influences those around me, is short sighted. We can choose to be a nation of individuals that are individually sick and don’t take care of each other, or we can be a supportive nation that comes together in times of need. The scale tipping towards obesity and disease largely caused by our eating habits certainly indicates a time of need. It isn’t necessary or helpful to go to the extreme of totalitarianism. Walking to the center of the scale to a neutral balance is much less extreme, and healing.
        Peace.

      • A.W. Chuck December 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

        I can appreciate that you want to make the world “a better place, supportive nation, comes together, neutral balance, times of need, less extreme, healing, peace” and all of that.

        But pretty words are not a plan. They are just pretty words.

        You will find that if you tried to write a “plan” on how to turn pretty words into actions you’ll find that it’s impossible to do so and still avoid either spending enormous, disgusting amounts of other people’s money or trampling all over the individual freedoms of everyone not being a slob.

        Which is why, at the end of the day, to make pretty words actionable you must take complete control of everyone’s freedom or take complete control of everyone’s money or both.

        Since that is the only other option, then the world and everyone in it is best left to themselves with their individual freedoms and the RESPONSIBILITY of the consequences of their own decisions, including the negative consequences of poor decisions, such as being obese.

        If you have a better plan, let’s hear it…a plan, not pretty words.

      • butterbeanskitchen December 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

        The truth is food changes everything, so that’s where we start. Where it grows, how it is transported, stored or sold, served and eaten. In New York this month, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn announced FoodWorks New York, a new effort by the City Council to produce the first ever comprehensive plan to use New York Citys food system to create jobs, improve public health and protect the environment. (listen to a clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGLYBiatNb0) If emphasis and pride were put on creating jobs that that allowed people to contribute to the good health and healing of our communities with pride (such as creating facilities to wash cut and bag lettuce per Ms. Quinn’s example), we wouldn’t have to have conversations about cheap toys and junk food. The conversation would change, because the context would change.
        The best plan requires all of us to step up and do our part. Whether it is making a better choice when food shopping so that we can be better examples for our own kids, or picking up a friend who needs encouragement and going for a jog with them, or bringing healthy snacks or a juice bar to your work establishment, or getting a staff water filter or supporting organizations that do outreach and education, or joining a local CSA to support your local farmers and your family’s health.. there are many ways to contribute to the betterment of our collective situation. Getting more companies in the private sector to make this a priority to prove that it can be profitable to make our children’s lives better is vital. Here’s a recent article on this subject: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2010/12/latest-short-publictions-enjoy/
        The worse for you a food is, the more money is spent advertising said food. Personal responsibility is important, but requires support in the face of an uneven playing field. Again, we aren’t talking about going to any extreme, but simply coming back to center.
        We can inspire change.

  107. austinjohns November 6, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    As a long time vegetarian I have no sympathy for McDonald’s but an outright ban seems outrageous to me. Make no mistake our food industry needs major changes but I feel those changes need to start in the production of food. Eliminating factory farming and going after corporate giants like Monsanto. People should be free to choose what they wish to consume for better or worse. I think the more important thing is giving them actual options instead of putting limitations on food that from an establishment that will never be truly good for you. It’s easy to agree to banning something when it falls in line with your personal beliefs but how would you feel if this ban were on something you consume…alcohol? marijuana? etc

  108. smexy girl November 6, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    hey this is horrible what about junk food

  109. fiddle mike November 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    I feel that government is already too intrusive. I hope this is confined to SF and not another California contagion.

  110. helthnut November 6, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    The whole notion of the franchise itself encouraging people to eat better is a smart, proactive move rather than reactive. I liked this post so much I wrote up my own if you’d care to visit:
    Ban Obese Kids from Eating that Happy Crappy Meal

  111. Bradley November 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    I’m glad you feel so enthusiastic about the State telling people what they are and aren’t allowed to do over something so petty.

    What else would you like to see Governments ban and in what other ways would you like to see it limit public freedoms to do the things you find unhealthy?

    As a young child, I had McDonald’s meals very rarely, and I resent you feeling you’ve got the right to prevent me having a toy with because you think it’s your duty to make sure I don’t become unhealthy.

    How about a little bit of personal responsibility? Some parents are irresponsible and some kids don’t have the will-power to turn down fattening food, so you take the option of banning toys with it because you want the Government to start bringing up children?

    Perhaps you’d like children’s parks to stop being appealing to kids? Some children hurt themselves in these parks by playing too vehemently. It’s probably best if we ban anything in a park which appeals to children because some hurt themselves in them.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    • helthnut November 7, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

      Children can’t make informed choices about what is healthy and what isn’t because they have to be taught and clearly adults aren’t teaching them well.
      I’m not saying anything about the silly toy…that’s not the issue here. (Awwww I’m sorry you miss your wittle bitty toy btw…have you been a good boy lately that you deserve one?)

      Children’s parks don’t seem to be increasing obesity stats nor do they seem to be increasing hospital emergency stats. Some children in parks hurt themselves on occasion yes, but clearly nowhere near the majority unlike McDonad’s Happy Meals which hurt everyone.

      • Bradley November 7, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

        You really didn’t need to take the patronising “Ohh, do you miss your toy?” tone, did you? I thought it was fairly clear that I was talking in the context of my time as a child, and not now. However, your immaturity has raised a good point: why does the Government have the right to prevent a private company providing food with a toy in it?

        “I’m not saying anything about the silly toy… that’s not the issue here.”

        It is part of the issue, because, in effect, it has effectively been banned. SF wants meal which is aimed at children to either meet nutritional requirements, or to stop being aimed at children, which would mean the removal of a toy. The fact that you dismiss this with such childish, patronising language just proves that you don’t care about freedom of choice or the limitation of freedom, and only about imposing your health-obsession on everyone else.

        I don’t care whether some parents aren’t making informed choices or whether children don’t know: it’s not the role of the Government to take such a Nanny State role on food. It’s the usual method of trying to shape a society to what the Government wants. Just because you’re a health-obsessive, doesn’t mean you need to try to force this on everyone else, and see yourself as some kind of warrior for the children by advocating an oppressive, increasingly controlling State on everything you disagree with.

        I don’t see why it matters whether something increases hospital emergency stats. So do many things. Considering the USA has a system of private health insurance, unlike the UK’s collective NHS system, this argument about it increasing hospital visits doesn’t seem to stand up since it’s paid for by insurance or by the patients themselves, not collectively by society.

        I just hate this whole line of argument of: “I support a Government banning things and reducing freedom because I think it’s my job to interfere in the lives of other parents and children.”

      • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 12:59 am #

        Perhaps you’d like children’s parks to stop being appealing to kids? Some children hurt themselves in these parks by playing too vehemently. It’s probably best if we ban anything in a park which appeals to children because some hurt themselves in them.

        That was your comment about children’s parks. Hence the reason I addressed them in my answer. It is a strange analogy to eating food that is utterly bad for a child and has no nutritional value whatsoever.

        Your statement: I’m glad you feel so enthusiastic about the State telling people what they are and aren’t allowed to do over something so petty.

        Agreed. Taking out the cheap toy McD’s throws into the box won’t make a difference to most families I’m sure….they will still buy the HM and it will still be erroneously described as a treat/reward to kids. My guess is kids look forward to the Playland apparatus much more than the toy anyway (of course by your argument McD’s should dismantle the Playland too in case someone gets hurt – then they can take fun away from children on a grand scale).

        Your statement: …you see yourself as some kind of warrior for the children
        Disagree. Not only do I not see myself as a warrior for the children I would go the opposite way and see myself as a critic of parents who don’t care enough about raising their kids up in as healthy a manner as possible.

        Your statement: I don’t care whether some parents aren’t making informed choices or whether children don’t know: it’s not the role of the Government to take such a Nanny State role on food.

        Disagree. Government is trying to respond to the obesity epidemic in the states. Hospital ER’s and ongoing medical care due to poor eating choices along with a sedentary lifestyle weigh heavily on the medical care system and are completely unnecessary. Maybe Government needs to take on a Nanny State role since clearly parents are unable to do it.

  112. Ryan November 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    it should be the parent’s responsibility to get their kids to eat healthy, not the government’s.

  113. route53 November 6, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    This ban is lame. It is up to the responsible parents to make sure their kids don’t eat junk. Have you noticed that we are having less kids in this city? Ever notice that you can’t just simply got to a Baskin Robbins store and take you kid out for the simple pleasure of an ice cream? Why? Because we are making it more and more difficult for people to do business in the city. These are the small things that make raising kids in San Francisco just that much more expensive.

    Yet I bet the same people who think this was a good idea (not saying it is wrong, but our priorities are screwed up) are also the same people who wanted to legalize pot because they think it makes better sense for revenue generation but haven’t a clue as to how many kids will be hurt.

    There are many restaurants in this city who serve product that isn’t healthy yet this seems to be a slap at a few organizations. Excuse me people…ever heard of the Ronald McDonald House? A great organization.

  114. Reed November 7, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    Ok, so I have two kids and McDs is a little monthly or at most twice monthly treat! That sort of moderation should be fine and up to the parent to decide. This sort of government regulation is moving towards Orwellian fears. Now, as a fiscally conservative, socially liberal generally centrist on all else independent, I recognize historically that greater government control and less freedom tend to come with more left leaning governance, not the opposite. That’s just history.

    Still, I don’t think this sort of extreme left thinking, being partially left leaning myself on may things, will lead o a totally fascist state…. but it sure is a blow against freedom of choice and less powerful governance.

    For those in favor of this law b/c they think McDs is evil, don’t go to McDs! Guh. That is our choice. I’m not even a fan of fast food… never been. I’m not a fan of Jolt Soda, but I don’t think it should be illegal. In other words, this is for parents and individuals to decide. How about if our government decides it is bad to be religious… or not religious… so the politicians (whichever are in that year) mandate that children should be raised to believe in god…or not.

    The point is, I don’t want the government dictating these things to me. No one seems to have a sense of where to draw the line. While it is true that regulations are necessary and the children sometimes need protecting from their own parents form physical violence and more, I hardly think the occasional happy meal can fall under reckless endangerment.

    I think I’m just way less trusting of our politician – both sides – than the article’s author who I suppose clearly supports less civil liberties and less freedom of choice. I suppose people in SF just trust politicians and lawyers more than themselves and don’t believe in independent thought but rather feel the need to make all uniformed n thought and conform to a norm the politicians mandate. They think that government needs to control us and tell us what is best.

    Again, I’m sure people will say/write “oh well, should murder not be illegal? We “regulate” violent crimes and the speed limit, etc.” These are universally accepted values or safety standards – life is to be protected, personal property the same, and many more examples that we generally agree need enforcing.

    I suppose next we’ll see a law that prevents people from purchasing a toy that isn’t deemed to have “educational value”. Again, I’m very progressive – can’t stress it enough. My children listened to classical music in the womb! They eat healthy, have many education toys, and go to private school (well the one of school age does). But if my son wants a star wars clonetrooper helmet for his B-day (which really has no educational value) so what… he’s a kid. Let him play dress up, let him play…. let them all enjoy childhood. Good golly.

    Rant ends….now LOL 😉

  115. Otter Creek Antiques November 7, 2010 at 12:24 am #

    I think its a bunch of crap. Whats next? Banning pez despensers?

  116. David November 7, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    I don’t see what the big deal is. My brothers and I all grew up eating happy meals when we were little boys and we never got fat. The problem with fast food and overweight kids isn’t with the restaurant or the kids eating them. It’s the parents that buy too many of them for their kids and don’t spend enough time feeding them healthy at home.

    • helthnut November 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

      Then why are you fat now? Your pic looks it.

      • Bradley November 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

        You really are a contemptible person, helthnut.

      • helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:21 am #

        All I’m saying is if you can’t walk the talk then don’t talk the talk.

  117. Otter Creek Antiques November 7, 2010 at 12:47 am #

    Im glad this was the most pressing issue to deal with in S.F….skyrocketing unemployment, illegal immigration, gay and civil rights, terrorist threats, two wars, disease, education, taxes, drugs, crime, rising heathcare costs….nah, lets debate happy meals. Thats why this country is going down the toilet. While they had the city council meeting about happy meals more illegals snuck in the country, more drugs flowed over our borders, more people got laid off, more people died, more terrorists attacks were plannned, more disease spred, and so on and so on….and the number one agenda of the night with was happy meals? CRAZY

  118. incusblack November 7, 2010 at 12:52 am #

    I think it’s funny that the conversation centers around what the kids should or should not be doing as if that is really what we are talking about. These kids are in the care of their parents; we are talking about binding the decisions of the parents with respect to their children. The illegitimacy of the ban is seen in the fact that the ban is considered necessary. We don’t want to leave the decisions to parents for fear that they will choose wrong. By “wrong” we mean not in accordance with own standards. That is blatant paternalistic coercion and it is not justified by the good intent behind it.

  119. theplayside November 7, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    Oh, I hope the ban makes its way to the DC metro area! I cave and take my kids to McDonald’s from time to time and every SINGLE time I feel like a crap mother. How hard, honestly, is it to make a kids meal under 600 calories?? (By comparison, I can feed them a nasty-yet-beloved hot dog at home and not even come close to that.)

    Good luck, San Franscisco! Send us those good-food-vibes!

    • Ryan November 7, 2010 at 3:21 am #

      then don’t take them there! you’re the parent, you decide what they eat. it’s not the government’s responsibility to do what you’re not doing

  120. =Zayer= November 7, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Win 😆

  121. thinkdangerous November 7, 2010 at 2:05 am #

    I disagree with this ban. I don’t need the government or anyone else telling me what I or my kids can eat.

    If parents are concerned about what their kids eat, I have two simple suggestions:

    1. Don’t take your kids to McDonalds
    2. Something my father taught me at a very young age. A simple two letter word. No.

    This has less to do with nutrition and more to do with being a responsible parent. Some reason though, it seems like parents these days feel it is everybody elses responsibily to take care of their kids. Your kid is failing at school, it must be the school’s problem because it is their job to teach them. Never mind the parent that has taken no interest in their kid’s education. Kid is fat, it must be McDonald’s fault with their evil clown and child marketing plans. Never mind the parent who takes their kid there in the first place. Kids begging for a candy bar at the grocery store. Must be the grocery store that is at fault for selling candy bars. Never mind the parent never taught their kid the meaning of the word no. Kid breaks something at a store and gets hurt. The parent who left their kids run around unsupervised can’t be the one’s to blame.

    Responsibility for your children comes from only one place, the parents.

  122. dbugcbug November 7, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    Great idea. I live in a small college town and I am in the middle of trying to do just that.

    P.S check out my fiction blog, http://www.confessionsofpreteenwitches.com

  123. Thomas November 7, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    A lot of people have commented on this blog post and have been for the ban, but I think the ban is stupid because it is up to the responsible parents to make sure their kids don’t eat junk. Our country is in the midst of an obesity epidemic because of the parents not McDonalds. By banning happy meals, you are saying it is McDonald’s fault our kids are fat, when really it’s the parents fault because they buy the stuff for the kids.

    • BeakBlogger November 7, 2010 at 10:24 am #

      yeah I agree thomas, it’s all the parent’s fault. You can’t exactly force McDonald’s into what they serve on their menu, I mean yeah they could at least try to make some of their items more healthy, but they make what they want.

      It would be a good idea for parents to be properly educated about what sort of foods they are actually giving their children. I know for fact that macca’s does put a lot of sodium, fats and preservatives into their foods, and parents need to know what eating too much of these foods can do to you.

      It may not be entirely the parents fault though. They might have been brought up in a family where they were fed a lot of junk or unhealthy food and weren’t properly educated at all, which leads to passing down that habit to their own children.

  124. butterbeanskitchen November 7, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    Banning the Happy Meal is not by itself going to solve our childhood obesity problem. But it has already been successful in getting many people thinking about what will.

    Personal responsibility is a rightly respected value, long protected in our great country. What can we do to prevent choices, misguided by Happy Meals and advertisements, which result in sickness and inflict a collective rise in health care costs?

    Some really constructive ideas have come from the above comments.

    What if healthy food was cheaper than unhealthy food? What if fruits and vegetables were subsidized by the government instead of corn and soy? What if our favorite cartoon characters and celebrities were pictured on the sides of buses and billboards eating fruits and vegetables? What if there were Tax incentives for buying and growing organic food?
    What if school lunch programs only had healthy food – that’s what Butter Beans is doing, and it works. This is just one piece of complicated puzzle.
    Shouldn’t a Happy Meal be healthy? For some people fast food is a monthly treat or choice. For others, it is simply what is affordable on a regular basis. Maybe that parent, who relies on fast food, will be happier to be able to find a vegetable in that box.

    The argument that things shouldn’t be banned just because they have the potential to be overused – is a good point. However, the reality is that fast food has the potential of making lots of people very sick, and enough people are not getting the message clearly. Banning the Happy Meal is a strong statement that something drastic has to be done now.

    This is about our children. Children who instead of thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, or how to solve the issues of our time, are being brave while thinking about their doctors visits and insulin shots. Our children, are the leaders of tomorrow. We want them to be as prepared as possible.

    Thank you all for being a part of the solution.

    • Sarah November 7, 2010 at 7:51 am #

      I really wanted to respond to this particular post because a part of it really hits the nail on the head.

      Affordability.

      I am speaking from experience — I grew up on “bad food” and I regret it. I know it’s bad but I still eat it far, far, FAR more than I should. The reason is, of course, that it is MUCH more available and affordable than “healthy” foods.

      I can go to the store and buy approximately a month’s worth of food for me for about 50-100 dollars (give or take the random non-food purchase) if I’m buying your average American-beloved junk from Walmart. If I spend a day or two carefully constructing a meal plan, I can go to the market and buy the same amount of “healthy” foods to get me buy for about 200-270 dollars.

      The time expense and the costs, which are an incredible burden on me, are driving factors in my choice of diet.

      The government shouldn’t be seeking to punish businesses for making Happy Meals ‘fun’ — it should be seeking to provide actual support for turning the tide for the already obese and better education, and incentives for businesses that do this on their own.

      The carrot works better than the stick sometimes.

    • smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

      “Banning the Happy Meal is not by itself going to solve our childhood obesity problem.” Of course not.

      “What if healthy food was cheaper than unhealthy food?” It can’t be, not economically. It costs more to make. If you can get costs down, it would work, though.

      “However, the reality is that fast food has the potential of making lots of people very sick,” It’s just fat and calories. It’s not salmonella.

      “This is about our children.” Children are usually used in progressive campaigns because they cannot defend themselves.

  125. Dan November 7, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    I guess if those of you who live in San Francisco want to live with the government telling you what to do that is your choice. But don’t you dare try and push this crap off on the rest of us. I happen to like McDonald’s food. And so do My kids and none of them are Obese. If you spent half as much time minding your own business as you do minding everyone else’s you would live much better lives.

    This is a perfect example of government gone wild. What a stupid law to pass when California is on the verge of collapse. Seems to me that instead of finding ways to limit economic activity you should trying to balance your budgets and make it more profitable for business to operate.

    • Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      I couldn’t agree more.

      I ate at McDonalds as a kid a bit, and I take my daughter every now and then when we’re in a rush. Neither of us are overweight or obese. I played outside every day as a kid, and ate otherwise mostly healthy meals at home.

      McDonalds isn’t the problem.

  126. The Gates of Lodore November 7, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    Bans rarely do any good. I doubt this ban will do anything but piss people off and rouse people against this cause, and against causes considered politically associated. When I was a kid, my parents had to beg me to eat the food instead of playing with the toy, which was usually tossed in the trash within a week or two. The wastefulness bothers me much, much more than the unhealthy nature of the food. Also, I often notice the kids whose parents strictly controlled their diet growing up tend to be the ones that have the hardest time regulating their own diet when they move out on their own. If one city forces people to eat a certain way, is the temptation too much to resist when they move to a different city?

  127. Bob The Builder November 7, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    hmmm mcdonalds has over caloriedized food if that is a word but it tastes good

  128. skinnyminnie11 November 7, 2010 at 3:41 am #

    I personally think this is great. I would love to see McDonalds completely banned, worldwide (I’m imagining many gasps of schock-horror as this is read!). We could replace every restaurant with a fruit&veg store – wouldn’t that make the world a better place? Certainly a healthier one – far less strain on our health systems, far more people actually able to live their lives uncrippled by disease and able contribute more to society.

    • Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

      On what grounds would you like to see McDonalds banned? Personal preference?

      That’s really not a realistic solution.

      Parents teaching their kids about healthy eating through example is probably a better approach.

    • smcgamer November 10, 2010 at 2:30 am #

      No, just a sigh.

      “We could replace every restaurant with a fruit&veg store – wouldn’t that make the world a better place?” Nope.

      “far more people actually able to live their lives uncrippled by disease”
      Food = disease? I posted a link to a study in which there was no correlation between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease.

      • skinnyminnie11 November 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

        bad food is the leading cause of pretty much all our modern-day health problems. this is true. there’s no argument about it.
        ‘studies’ are well known to be swindled to make the point of whatever company is paying for the study.
        NO correlation WHATSOEVER between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease.? you have got to be kidding me.

  129. scarlettshi November 7, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    Maybe there will be much better if combined with Chinese food?=V=

  130. anthonymagro November 7, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    An interesting post… however I also feel that 90% of the blame needs to be pointed at the parents who use McDonalds as a meal supplement compared to something home made or healthier.

    Children should be rewarded with healthier foods, I agree.

    • helthnut November 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

      Better still don’t reward children with food at all…it sets them up for ill-advised eating habits as they get older (learning that food is a reward is a negative not a positive). Why not consider rewards things like family game night or some cool outdoor weekend activity like camping?

  131. jumpingjoy November 7, 2010 at 6:32 am #

    I think childhood obesity is linked to not-there parents. Whether through divorce, too busy on the job, or just too “me generation” to care. Banning the toy I don’t think is going to do much. I think government getting into the act of childhood is just going to encourage more parental neglect.

    As a kid I liked french fries regardless if there was a toy. The fact that my parents couldn’t afford them made them seem like they were valuable. It was up to my parents to say “no” and offer better alternatives. Not the fast-food resturant, nor the city officials.

  132. inidna November 7, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    I think what a lot of people have been saying is right: it all comes down to parenting. Parents are the ones that decide to buy the meal for their child; the kids aren’t the ones rolling in the dough. If they can’t say no to buying their child junk food, maybe they should reconsider their parenting skills. Just because kids will cry if they ask for it and don’t get it everyday doesn’t mean you have to cave in so your child doesn’t get “scarred” for life. It’s all about balance and compromise and I think that’s important to instill in your child from the beginning. There are parents who have kids that don’t eat junk everyday and I’m sure that on the occasion when they want to give their children a treat, it’d be nice to find that it would be as simple as going to buy a Happy Meal.
    I’m pretty sure Fastfood joints (like Maccas and Burger King) weren’t invented to be ‘healthy’. It’s a an individual’s choice to eat it and if you’re a child, it’s your parents’ choice. Don’t make the choice to eat there everyday and then blame the company for getting fat/obese. That’s not how it works.

  133. lucy elenore November 7, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    i think the effort to get kids to eat healthy food is commendable. i agree that steps need to be done in order to reduce obesity in children and maybe doing this would help. but i also think that it should be the parents’ responsibility, ultimately. telling a fast food chain what and what not to give may be equivalent to censorship in movies and television. in the end, i still think it’s our choice whether or not to buy the happy meal. maybe they should just require the fast food chains to write the nutritional contents of the food on the packaging.

  134. Sarah November 7, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    I am very much in favor in promoting healthier eating. I grew up on fast food and regret it. That said, I think this sort of regulation is targeting the wrong areas.

    The thing is, if kids are going to eat bad food, it’s because their parents give it to them. Punishing the business that serves and the child isn’t ideal and it isn’t going to push through some overwhelming message. The only thing it’s going to do is annoy some SanFran kid when he’s expecting a wheelie toy or something and doesn’t get it — it’s not going to convince him that apple slices are better than french fries.

  135. obszrvr November 7, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    I’m surprised that the government had to step in.
    Although its for a good cause, if there isn’t enough of self/parent-control there is little that anybody else can do in this regard. The kid might just end up getting fatter with/without any toy joy.

  136. veiledspeaker November 7, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    When I was a child,My Mother made quite clear that Mcdonald was a “special treat”,and I only had it every so offten.

    I think the problem,at least in the United Kingdom,is that some perents don’t wan to cook most of the time,so give their children Microwave meals,Burgerking or Mcdonalds.Plus kids nowadays can go out a for a lowish price,get the food they like when they like.

    Re-enforce the idea that it’s a bit of a treat,and show them that there is other food to enjoy,Such as Italian or Chinese.

    Though speaking as an Ex-child,I remember the happiness those cheap toys gave me,and the time i spent playing with them,Untill I descovered Computer games,that is…..

  137. lschaibley November 7, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    How about we try this? For all those obese children out there in San Francisco, let’s say we go to their homes and check their cupboards and refrigerators to see what these “concerned” parents are buying for their kids to eat. I can almost guarantee that we’ll find some pretty disgusting stuff in there that’s probably twice as bad as anything they can get in a Happy Meal. We mess things up and then point the finger at someone else. As the old saying goes, “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” Time to start sweeping folks.

    @theplayside – you don’t have to feel like a “crap mom” for taking your kids to McDonalds. Just don’t do it every time they ask you to and DON’T CAVE. That’s the most important thing, and tell your children WHY you are not going to give in to them.

    • Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

      McDonalds is not causing children to be obese. Parents who consistently feed their kids crap and don’t force them to play outside and get some physical activity are making their kids obese.

      How about some accountability, people?

  138. zakton November 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Hooray for San Francisco!

  139. wellnessinflow November 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    This is an interesting post. Thanks for sharing. The responses are amazingly diverse. I think that if you believe McD’s is bad for you then you shouldn’t eat it. If you don’t have a strong belief about it either way, then eating it once in a while is actually harmless. The point being that each individual is responsible for their own health. McD’s is free to create enticing products and sell them to those customers that desire to eat them. Each family is at a different place on their wellness journey. Some families may not eat McDs but they will buy white bread & eat other things that may not be the best for the family. Taking a holistic view of this – McD’s is a very small aspects of any individual child’s wellness. The best thing parents can do is just lead by their example 🙂 This post is good food for thought:)

  140. Der Gothmann November 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    An excellent plan.
    It disturbs me that I recently discovered that the reason why McDonalds food does not decompose is that, it is not recognised as a food by fungi or bacteria! Even rodents and strays prefer to give it a wide berth whenever the opportunity of recognisable food is nearby!

    I have added a link to my “now reading” blog menu for yours, as I think you have a plethora of interesting goodies for everyone!

    In case you are interested, I have recently started my own blog, wherein I will happily bash any subject available. Plenty of fun, but not for minors!
    I would be pleased if you felt you could link to mine somewhere.

    It can be found here: http://dergothmann.wordpress.com/

  141. vicky November 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    good practice … thumbs up

  142. BA November 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Over at http://4mothers1blog.wordpress.com, we discussed the relationship between toys and fast food. Four different mothers give four different takes on this very issue. Check out what we had to say:

    http://4mothers1blog.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/the-boring-truth/
    http://4mothers1blog.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/634/
    http://4mothers1blog.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/because-i-said-so/
    http://4mothers1blog.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/garbage-in-garbage-out/

  143. antsrants November 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    The eating of unhealthy food in this country started so long ago that trying to reverse the process is akin to stopping a landslide. It’s not just kids that love it but parents embrace it because of the convenience. On top of that, they’re hooked on it too, because so they’re so busy working sometimes at multiple jobs that they don’t have time to cook healthy food for the family.

    As my wife and I notice every week while food-shopping, it is also quite expensive to eat healthily. Visiting other countries, I’ve noticed that the natural and organic foods are the norm not the exception. It is the junk food that is expensive not the healthy food. No wonder we have an obesity epidemic here. Great post with great points.

  144. gizez November 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Really , this is so stupid , because , you don’t eat that freaking happy meal , every day of the year. They are kids , the grow , they play , they burn the fat , if they’re not couch potato’s. This new age, green , bio food is so stupid , and only in America you see this crap. Now if I want a happy meal , I need to show an ID ? In our day’s there are adults who eat happy meals because of the toy…it’s sad

  145. peace November 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    your right

  146. Boonie November 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    The government needs to get out of trying to run people’s lives over such trivial stuff.

    • helthnut November 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

      In fact what McD’s could and should have done was quietly make the Happy Meals healthy without revealing the new, improved quality of their food, throw the toy in as always, and shut up about it.

      Coca Cola nearly tanked when they came out with that ridiculous new and improved Coke formula…remember that?

      • smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

        What about those apple slices?

  147. ayersignature November 7, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Great! Im in San Francisco as well =D

  148. Lindea November 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Great post. I wish they banned it here too. Kids should be encouraged to eat healthy, not fast-food, and certainly not get a prize (toy) when eating unhealthy.

    • Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

      You don’t need a ban to encourage kids to eat healthy. You need parents who teach their kids to eat healthy.

  149. howtobeamale November 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    Alright, here’s where I disagree. A Happy Meal makes a kid happy.

    A Healthy Meal is usually home-cooked.

    If I want A Healthy Me, I eat food cooked with love from home, and get my kids out running, playing, exercising, keeping fit. In fact, that’s what I should do for myself.

    If I can’t get home-cooked food, I can only expect a healthier option from the plethora of food places available. Fast food isn’t one of them.

    So, banning Happy Meals to curb obesity? Someone (not our dear blogger, I’m referring to the wiseguy who came up with this “step forward”) obviously needs a light bulb change in the ideas department.

    Just saying. =) Love the blog!

  150. Clark Bunch November 7, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    I’m all for teaching our kids (and adults) healthy eating habits. What bothers me is that ever since the book/movie Super Size Me came out, McDonald’s has been the nation’s wiping boy. Burger King serves the Enormous and Meatnormous Omelet Sandwiches, as well as some extraordinarily unhealthy lunch choices. Wendy’s has the Baconator available in single, double, or triple meat varieties. McDonald’s still offers fattening items on their menu, but also has a variety of salads, grilled chicken sandwiches and wraps. As mentioned already in the comments, you can get a Happy Meal with apple slices instead of fries. Instead of ice cream, how about a fruit and yogurt parfait? I love those things.

    McDonald’s is not the enemy. People are stupid. They only give you the food you walk up and ask for.

    • Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

      I’m so sick of the lack of accountability.

      Supply and demand. McDonalds is in business because people go there and buy the food.

      If you don’t like how unhealthy it is, don’t take your kids there. Seriously.

  151. Virginia Diaz November 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    I think something that some of the posters objecting to this ban are missing is that the food industry, fast food as well as what you can buy on the grocery store shelves, has changed drastically over the last few decades. A Happy Meal today with a burger or chicken nuggets and fries is far less healthy that the same Happy Meal 20 years ago. Changes in industry practices have increased the amount of fat, sodium, pesticides, and preservatives, while reducing the amount of nutrients in all our food because the food bearing plants and animals used to make our food are raised differently. There are fewer vitamins in the soil the potatoes are grown in because it is cheaper to raise them that way; there are more pesticides in the feed that the chickens eat because again, it is cheaper that way. The resulting potato or piece of chicken tastes blander than food raised in the more expensive way. Then the food producers fill that taste void with more fat and sodium (because fat and sodium are cheaper than vitamins and do taste really good even if they are not healthy in those amounts). What it really boils down to is that Factory Farming has changed the balance between fat and protein, between salt and vitamins and minerals which we need in larger quantities than we are able to get in our standard American diet.

    Does legislation like this do anything to help the problem? Maybe a little, because maybe some parent who had never taken the time to look at the ingredients in the foods they give their child will hear about this and take a moment to do some research, maybe that parent will find this ban to be a wake-up call about their child’s health. In reality, meaningful and widespread change will have to come from the people. People need to care what they are putting in their bodies and care what they are giving their kids to put into their bodies. Until that happens bans like this will be little more than a band-aid on the problem.

  152. Thoughts From a Real Life November 7, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    I have not read all the comments posted here, so I hope this is not redundant. My question is…will the “healthy” happy meal with a toy cost more? If so…then McDonald’s has a nice make-a-buck opportunity here. They shouldn’t protest.

    • Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

      It doesn’t matter. People won’t buy more expensive.

      The dollar menu and inexpensive Happy Meals are cheaper than healthier meals, and in inner cities, parents take their kids for fast food because it’s cheap. When you’re on a budget, this is what works.

      Most of the comments here seem to ignore the fact that a huge part of this problem is a socioeconomic one. They think if you ‘educate’ people more, they won’t take their kids for fast food as much because they’ll learn it’s not healthy. A huge portion of people that (frequently) take their kids for fast food do so because they can order a meal for a few bucks, as opposed to healthy food which costs a lot more.

  153. alemfronteiras November 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    Great post indeed! It is possible that parents who frequent McDonalds with their children are unaware of the associated adverse health affects that could arise as a result. The key here is health education. Should McDonalds publish health information regarding the consumption its foods and make this information available in pamphlets in each restaurant?

  154. rpnorton November 8, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    Thanks for this post. As a school board member in San Francisco, I supported this legislation even though it has been ridiculed nationwide as another example of politicians becoming the “fun police,” egged on by the “food police” in the form of mothers and medical professionals.

    This legislation doesn’t ban toys with meals — it simply asks that the toys be included with HEALTHIER choices rather than high-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar items.

    It makes me sad that efforts to pressure food companies to help children and families make healthier choices — at great benefit to their personal health AND the associated savings to our society in decreasing rates of chronic conditions like heart disease, obesity and diabetes–are always ridiculed as coming from the food police.

  155. greenleftyidealist November 8, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    Hopefully the precedent set in San Francisco will flow around the world fairly quickly. But I’m hoping it goes beyond food to thinking about appropriate marketing for toys and clothing aimed at kids too.

  156. benblewett November 8, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    I love San Francisco, great to see someone take the lead!
    Having a toy with a happy meal just encourages kids to grow up with fast food as a staple part of their diet. So wrong

  157. helthnut November 8, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    Pretty hostile there Mayrant. My guess is you live on a steady diet of McD’s, Burger King and Wendy’s and are definitely not someone we want to see in a bathing suit.

    You do raise a valid point about no hot dogs at ball games etc. The problem with McD’s however is they are EVERYWHERE….and everyone knows what that golden M means….I dare say ball games with hot dogs don’t advertise and certainly the majority of people don’t attend them enough to worry about obesity.

    Yes it is her damned business. It’s everyone’s damned business about what restaurants are putting into our food…we can’t make an informed decision unless we know what we’re eating.

    • CrystalSpins November 8, 2010 at 1:49 am #

      Speaking of hostile…how rude of you to insult Mayrant in that way. Your nastiness doesn’t do much to inspire someone to listen to anything you have to say.

    • Lisa November 8, 2010 at 2:09 am #

      You said: Your nastiness doesn’t do much to inspire someone to listen to anything you have to say.

      You did.

    • Kate Cook November 8, 2010 at 2:52 am #

      helthnut, as you said, “everyone knows what that Golden M means.”
      People should know that when they pull up, they can expect to see a menu dominated by burgers, french fries, and the like. They can expect to find relatively high calorie, sodium, etc counts in many of the most tempting meals. Eaten in moderation, McDonald’s is not threatening to anyone’s health, just like anything else.

      A secondary issue – McDonald’s Happy Meals meet the dietary standards set forth by the USDA for public school lunch meals: vegetables (french fried potatoes count as a vegetable in the public schools) or fruit (apples), milk, two “breads” (the bun), and protein (all-beef patty). With the school system offering free breakfasts, lunches, and often even dinners, I’m guessing most SF students eat far more out of school cafeterias than McDonald’s restaurants. Those kids have no other option, and it’s our government stuffing them full of junk. I say the SF board starts THERE if they want to lay some blame and instigate change.

  158. Bryce November 8, 2010 at 1:57 am #

    While the intention is good, it seems like there is a level of ignorance in this blog around class issues and obesity, particularly in relationship to McDonalds. So, I have two quams.

    1) So what if people are obese- as long as they’re happy with themselves, it shouldn’t matter. There is seems to be a nasty trend across the US—see the shows like biggest loser, etc.—to try and erase fat people. What if they’re happy with their bodies? Who are you to say that they can’t eat what they like to maintain it? What if all of the obese people in the world got together and said you weren’t allowed to exercise because the enjoyment you get from being trim and fit was disgusting. I bet you wouldn’t like that much, would you? So, maybe instead of running hidden agendas against people’s desires, you should choose what is best for you and live the way that makes you happy, without pushing it on other people.

    2) Many parents where I grew up took their kids to McDonalds because a) it was a cheap and easy way to feed everyone (dollar menu for the adults, happy meal for the kids), and b) because it was a way to give us ‘toys’ without having to spend that much extra. Good for you to take a stand and make a personal claim in your children’s lives- but don’t think for one minute that your beliefs, and the way you live your life, is the same as someone who can’t access this blog because they can’t afford home internet. Given the conditions of San Fran last time I made a visit, it doesn’t seem like they give a sh*t about anyone not sporting the latest middle-class green/health-washing badge.

    For the record, no I’m not obese. I’m also not a twig. And I ate a BK lounge about 40 minutes ago. I ate at IHOP yesterday. MMMMMMM, I bet that makes you nauseous.

  159. Tonya November 8, 2010 at 2:17 am #

    I very very rarely eat at mcdonalds, but if I do, I order the happy meal and I am an adult. I order a happy meals because the serving size is smaller. I get a hamburger, apple slices and a choco milk. LOL! I ask to leave the toy out because I don’t need it. Plain and simple, I want a smaller calorie meal.

  160. americaforme November 8, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    Just to make you food police happy, lets just turn the rest of our lives over to the government.
    Let them tell me which house is safe and healthy, What car I am allowed to drive. Where must I buy my clothes?
    Why don’t you all just sit at home and eat your salads, quit your job and let “BIG BROTHER’ take care of everything.

  161. Samantha November 8, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    While I agree that the fast food companies themselves comprise only one part of the obesity problem, and that parents have a responsibility to their children, I do find it interesting that so many people seem to feel that the possibility of not having the option to purchase food completely lacking in nutritional value from a corporate entity that aligns itself with toy companies whose products are produced as a result of child labour, would prove to be a harmful violation of personal freedom. I’ll admit it, I like having an occasional meal from McDonald’s, and as a child I did have a collection of toys from fast-food joints which I enjoyed playing with… but I could have easily not had that experience of getting happy meals and been just as… well… happy. If I suddenly no longer had the option to purchase McD’s, eventually my fast food cravings would cease and I wouldn’t even miss it. So I am rather confused as to how this has seemed to translate into a scary big brother is watching situation for some people; essentially it seems that people are afraid of losing the freedom to mindlessly consume crap.

    • americaforme November 8, 2010 at 3:48 am #

      It is much more than a Big Brother is watching situation. It is a Big Brother is trying to take over our lives, one step at a time.
      No one disagrees with your passion for healthy food but lets do it with education and example, not by writing more laws that take “CHOICE” away from the citizenry. My main desire is that you ultra libs confine you Big Government to the state of California. The rest of the world is used to it.

    • Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

      Well, YES.

      People are afraid of losing the right to consume crap. You hit the nail on the head. People should be able to consume what they want and not have the government dictate what restaurants can and can not serve.

      With that said, these restaurants aren’t to blame for obesity; parents are. McDonalds every now and then is no big deal, but feed your kids something healthy every now and then, and get them to play outside every now and then instead of being sedentary. Why does the government need to punish restaurants because parents can’t practice self control?

      Should we ban beer and wine because SOME people might have an alcohol problem?

    • Devin November 8, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

      But if there were not McDonald’s a large amount of people including myself wouldn’t be employed. You see you couldn’t take away fast food without the fastfood joints falling apart. Go to any fast food joint that sells “Healthy Alternatives” and ask them which gets sold more. A Crispy Chicken BLT or a Big Mac and Fries. (Big Mac wins).

      You see once you take it away no one would go there. Think about how many McDonald’s there are. Can you say higher unemployment?

      • jean-philippe November 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

        If there were no McDonald’s, there would be other, probably healthier restaurants.

      • Samantha November 9, 2010 at 12:39 am #

        You bring up a valid point. These issues are always very complicated and there is never a simple answer. Unfortunately, once certain harmful practices become entrenched within our society and culture, it becomes extremely difficult to simply pull the plug. The same way that fast food gradually became a phenomenon, it needs to gradually decline in popularity; and if, when and how exactly that will happen I have no idea.
        Of course, our dependency on junk food is something that strengthens the more we consume it. If food sold within fast food establishments were to gradually be made more and more healthy, people would adjust with the food… so that’s really the only solution I can think of… a big problem with these places isn’t so much that they sell burgers and fries even, but all the fats in which the burgers and fries are cooked and all the preservatives and chemicals in them… and this can go for the “healthier” options too. So it isn’t even as if these places need to suddenly only offer salads and wraps in order to reform.
        Of course, the unethical ways in which food is now produced is something that extends way beyond fast food establishments… so again it is all very complicated.
        All I was really trying to say in my last post, is that I find it a little odd that so many people seem to feel that not having the option of going to such places to eat would be such an infringement on their rights… naturally, that doesn’t mean it is simple to eliminate this option.

    • smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

      Child labor? There is NO child labor.

      • Samantha November 10, 2010 at 3:19 am #

        Child labour in terms of McD’s? Or child labour in general? Even if it may not be child labour specifically, most North American toy companies do employ impoverished people in developing nations and underpay them grotesquely.

      • smcgamer November 10, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

        In terms of McDonald’s

        “most North American toy companies do employ improvished people in developed nations and underpay them grotesquely.” They can’t do that! Do you think all big business is terrible.

      • smcgamer November 11, 2010 at 12:09 am #

        Please state your sources.

  162. misssheltonb November 8, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    Great post! I didn’t know anyone was involved in this yet!

  163. Mummy Butterfly November 8, 2010 at 4:04 am #

    I have to politely disagree with this post – mainly because I’m not overly excited about the government telling me what my child can and cannot eat in order to get a toy.

    I say this as a very healthy woman, who is raising 3 healthy children. Sometimes, when they were younger they got a happy meal *gasp*, but I made sure to balance that with fruit and milk to drink. Now that they are older (8 and 10 – the boys, my daughter is still under 2), and they are allowed hamburgers at restaurants along with a SALAD, and they still drink milk with their meals.

    We don’t eat out often, and the worst food my kids have had in the last month was when we ate lunch with one of their friends in the public school lunchroom (they are homeschooled – no I don’t always wear dresses and I do watch TV). Ketchup counting as a vegetable, flavored milk was the only option (Chocolate or Strawberry), disgusting looking chicken nuggets (who knows what part of the chicken they came from) or a greasy looking pizza. There were a couple of bruised bananas, but the only other fruit option was sugary applesauce in a tube. And don’t forget the dessert options!

    I guess my point is that, at least where I live, I would be furious if the government started regulating what I can and cannot order for my kids in a public restaurant (tying it to a toy), when they are serving schoolchildren unhealthy (and nasty-looking) food. What’s that saying? “Check the plank in your own eye, before you complain about the speck in someone elses.”

    But then, I am also the person who rails in private at the chubby kids (with the chubby parents) at the all you can eat pizza buffets. Parents are killing their children everywhere – and my kids are going to have to pay the healthcare costs later.

    • Samantha November 9, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

      If your children weren’t paying taxes that go toward health care for overweight people, your children would be paying taxes toward other things that one could argue are unnecessary or issues that are not the fault of your children. I’m sorry, but personally I feel quite badly for the kids who are going to grow into adults who face the ill effects on their physical and mental health as well as the social stigma that comes with being overweight; not the kind of taxpayers who are going be complaining no matter what they are paying tax for. Honestly, what do people need with their “hard-earned” tax dollars anyway? A bigger house? A new surround sound system? Other items of value that contribute to life’s meaning and joy?

  164. Keith Ainsley November 8, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    Wow. Just another instance of government knows best. First off… For children, parents should be more involved in their kids lives and food choices. How many parents just roll over to shut their kids up? I’m all for healthy foods, but even McDonald’s does have healthy choices in the menu. People have to make the choice to choose them.

    To Samantha… If you can’t understand the concern here of government overreach then I don’t know what to say to you. I guess we will just have to find something you enjoy doing that the government will start to say is bad and take it away from you.

    How many of these obese people are getting off their asses anyway and exercising? Or is the government going to come and put exercise equipment in your home and force you to use a trainer?

  165. razzlemonster November 8, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    So damn true… the scariest thing is that Mickey D’s make 40% of their profit off the kids meals. Kids don’t buy the food… parents buy that for them!

  166. cappy @ writer's block November 8, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    Awesome! I didn’t know about that – this is an exciting step!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Don’t it just feel magical? 😛
    – Cappy @ Writer’s Block

  167. Cheryl November 8, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    As a family therapist, I think choices our kids make stem from example and modeled behavior from the adults in their lives. I think the parents are to be blamed and responsible for childhood obesity. A kid normally doesn’t walk to McDonalds themselves to purchase those Happy Meals on a daily basis unless driven to by their parents or caregivers. Everything in moderation. I grew up loving McDonald’s toys and I can’t imagine that tradition being taken away when it is actually the responsibility of the parents to make those wise decisions.

  168. transgressivecinema November 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    This is great news and I hope it is part of a trend. Getting kids hooked on this kind of rubbish food should be discouraged in every way.

  169. daynali November 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    I think that this is a very interesting effort, and I am certainly in favor or a bureaucratic attempt to lower childhood obesity. However, wouldn’t money be better spent giving tax cuts to parent’s whose children do sports, developing community parks programs or enforcing regulations across the table on the amount of fat that can be in food? There are plenty of obese adults as well whose arteries would benefit from such a ban. All in all, a parent who does not want to/is not able to feed their child properly is still going to pick up the Happy Meal instead of a healthy alternative. And i’m sure McDonalds will think of something – kids still have the ball pits to play in and the games on the food bags. I just think it seems like a mediocre effort where giant steps need to be taken.

  170. Witty Wife November 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Don’t get me wrong, some of the things served at McDonald’s aren’t exactly healthy.

    But how is removing a toy from an unhealthy Happy Meal going to change an obesity problem? This is a bit too much government interference for my preferences. Besides certain legal and tax regulations and such, businesses (restaurants in this case) should be free to serve and operate what they like.

    Face it, kids aren’t the ones purchasing Happy Meals; parents are. Removing the toy from the meal isn’t really going to influence the parents who take their kids there.

    This isn’t a McDonalds problem, this isn’t a fast food problem, this is a parental problem.

    I ate at McDonald’s probably 2x a week when I was a kid (and ate peanut butter and fluff every single day at school from 3rd grade to 6th) and was never overweight, and certainly never obese. And this was only in the early 80’s.

    Why? Because my parents cooked healthy meals at home. Because we were forced to play outside every single day. Atari was a new thing, and we were only allowed to play as a special reward; not when we got home from school every day. On weekends? We played outside. We ran around, we built forts, we played tag, but most importantly, we were very physically active.

    Punishing McDonalds isn’t going to solve the problem at all, because the problem is with parenting.

    And yes, I’m a mother of two, and yes, I take my daughter to McDonald’s on occasion for a Happy Meal, and she is not overweight or obese because she mostly eats healthy and is physically active daily.

    I’m so sick of blame shifting. No one forces anyone to eat anything. Parents need to be responsible for what they feed their children and how much activity their kids get. Why are they not being held accountable?

  171. mybakingempire November 9, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    I hope other cities follow suit too. It’s cruel to market to kids this way, especially if they don’t really have the capacity to understand about healthy choices vs something that comes with a toy.

  172. kissmeimshomer November 9, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    I don’t know. It’s a fine balance between enforcing a healthy nation, and ruling your citizens lives. Should they force people to work out as well? Perhaps institute gym membership as part of a benefits package in the workplace? Where’s the line?

  173. smcgamer November 9, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    Have you seen this post?

    http://sweettoothsweetlife.com/2010/11/09/twinkie-diet/

  174. germanthemaster November 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    ABOUT FREAKING TIME!. too many kids are getting fat, like way over weight, and they do not even know it, and the parents dont do anything about it, people complain about how others dare to call fat people fat, in mexico you can do it, thats why there is less fat people there, in here it getting to be a common thing, like heck its disgusting, and when people citicize it others say how intolerant they are and what not, NO intolerance is when one cannot tolerate other religions or ethnicities or things that cannot be helped, fat is being because one eats too much , does not excercise and is too lazy to do enough about it, i have a few fat friend s and they actually try and they konw their fat, what i cannot tolerate is the people who do not know there fat and act like its normal, what does one have to do to get them to realize it? am i gonna have to go around with a tuba follow fat people around playing it while they walk, or jump up everytime they sit down, it might be mean but im the one who has to suffer everyday seeing them in freaking bathing suits and having to deal with them crushing on me and what not. thank god ii have a girlfriend to be able to say something else besides what i would normally say. What i cant stand is the show big, its gross. This is way too of a small step, we need to take bigger and further steps, this must be stopped, before me an da couple of my friends stop it in other ways lol just keep doing things like this government please.

  175. Mr.Weightloss November 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing it.

  176. ....the little thread of thoughts November 18, 2010 at 8:37 am #

    Nice effort. Hope that this tiny step will stay on and go a long way. Else, obesity would be diagnosed in toddlers before the next decade begins !!

  177. Aligaeta December 11, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Back again. Thanks for your recent update. I just listened to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGLYBiatNb0) and as an Orange County, NY resident I am happy to hear the plans for local romaine going to the NYC schools. A few years back I worked bring the produce down to the city markets, 189th St, on Thursdays and Union Square on Saturdays. The market is also in McCaren Pk Brooklyn, Saturdays. These are just the markets I worked there are others. I don’t understand why it would have to hit Hunts Point first. Or if it was a matter of quantity, still the school system could have a driver twice a week (to ensure fresheness) to deliver crates to the different schools around the boroughs. If the schools should just pick up crates of lettuce locally and extend a half hour to the kitchen help to wash the lettuce as needed instead of of a facility to wash and bag it. Actually, the produce in crates not being freshly wet and packed would have a better freshness rate.

    • butterbeanskitchen December 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      Thank you so much for your post. I do believe that quantity is the reason Hunt’s point is the major destination. Your idea about having a driver pick up the food and make lettuce deliveries around the city is a great one. It would be great to avoid using plastic bags, especially when implementing a new practice. Staff would have to be paid the extra time it would take to wash and chop, and a budget would have to be allocated to have drivers make these rounds. Certainly worth it. Why not send your idea to CHristine Quinn’s office? I can do the same.

    • butterbeanskitchen December 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      Thank you so much for your post. I do believe that quantity is the reason Hunt’s point is the major destination. Your idea about having a driver pick up the food and make lettuce deliveries around the city is a great one. It would be great to avoid using plastic bags, especially when implementing a new practice. Staff would have to be paid the extra time it would take to wash and chop, and a budget would have to be allocated to have drivers make these rounds. Certainly worth it. Why not send your idea to CHristine Quinn’s office?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The BAN of the Happy Meal (via ButterBeansKitchen’s Blog) « Hanzolo's Blog - November 5, 2010

    […] The premise is pretty simple – we can't give toys away to kids with their meals, unless the meals are healthy – at least not in San Francisco. Healthy meaning that the meals are less than 600 calories, have less than 640 milligrams of sodium, and have less than 35% of calories from fat with less than 10% from saturated fat (with exceptions for nuts, seeds, eggs or low-fat cheese) and the there be at least a half cup of fruit or three-quarters of … Read More […]

  2. The BAN of the Happy Meal (via ButterBeansKitchen’s Blog) « In islamic world Blog - November 5, 2010

    […] Posted November 5, 2010 by inislamicworld in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment The premise is pretty simple – we can't give toys away to kids with their meals, unless the meals are healthy – at least not in San Francisco. Healthy meaning that the meals are less than 600 calories, have less than 640 milligrams of sodium, and have less than 35% of calories from fat with less than 10% from saturated fat (with exceptions for nuts, seeds, eggs or low-fat cheese) and the there be at least a half cup of fruit or three-quarters of … Read More […]

  3. Doubtful They’ll Ban that Happy Crappy Meal Anytime Soon | muchadoaboutnuttin - November 6, 2010

    […] its certainly a ray of hope to think so. I read a pressed post today called the BAN of the Happy Meal (guess who they’re referring to). SF started a cool initiative and they deserve a nod from the […]

  4. Let’s start a trend! « my purplehoneyjar - November 6, 2010

    […] food, good idea, happymeal, health, kids, mcdonalds, obesity, toys A Freshly Pressed post about happy meals being banned in San Fransisco has me so excited! They banned the kids meal on the premise that children should not be rewarded […]

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  7. Invest in your body | Rafdogg's B-Log - November 7, 2010

    […] I’d recommend. It’s a tad lengthy, but the information it provides is worth knowing. It’s good to see that some people are trying to make a change. Another recommendation is the documentary Food Inc. Definitely some real truth there. […]

  8. The BAN of the Happy Meal (via ButterBeansKitchen’s Blog) « Keith's World - November 8, 2010

    […] The premise is pretty simple – we can't give toys away to kids with their meals, unless the meals are healthy – at least not in San Francisco. Healthy meaning that the meals are less than 600 calories, have less than 640 milligrams of sodium, and have less than 35% of calories from fat with less than 10% from saturated fat (with exceptions for nuts, seeds, eggs or low-fat cheese) and the there be at least a half cup of fruit or three-quarters of … Read More […]

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