Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Playing with Toys

It looks like health advocates are going back to old fashioned techniques for combating childhood obesity. The old reward or penalize method is the latest tactic proposed Santa Clara County California for fast food restaurants who offer free toys with kids meals.

The toy ban would only allow restaurants to offer toys in kid’s meals if the meals meet nutritional criteria (less than 485 calories, no more than 35 percent of calories from fat or 10 percent from added sweeteners, or have more than 600 mg of sodium).

I get it, reward for good dietary choices and withhold treats for less nutritious offerings. It’s kind of like treat training a dog, give the treat for jobs well done - no treat if commands aren’t followed. I’ve been talking a lot lately about changing children’s taste preferences by offering them good tasting healthy foods so that they will grow up liking healthy foods instead of (or at least as well as) junk foods. Maybe this toy thing is a step in the right direction.

But on the other hand, is this really the government’s business? Should they be sticking their noses into our happy meals? Opponents like the California Restaurant Association very clearly oppose the ban and are working hard to fight it.

Administrators, parents and doctors in the area are in full support of withholding the toys. They argue the toys/lack of toys will be a good incentive not only for kids to make better choices, but also for restaurants to create and offer more healthful “happy meals”. And others agree; already other California counties and New York City have proposed similar bans.

Do you think that this is a reasonable ordinance? Do you think that it will have the desired effect?

1 comment:

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