Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happy Meal ban may not do much to actually cure obesity

By no means is a McDonald's Happy Meal a healthy food option for children. And marketing the junk food box with toys is a pretty low and unethical way to peddle cheap garbage to children. But San Francisco's recent decision to outlaw the Happy Meal -- unless it meets certain criteria -- may not actually achieve much as far as mitigating the obesity epidemic, according to some.

The recent decision by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors includes mandates that in order for a children's meal to contain a toy, it must include fruits and vegetables. The entire meal must be less than 600 calories, and only 35 percent of those calories can come from fat. The included beverage must also not be sugary or fatty -- meaning no milkshakes or soda beverages.

While advocates tout the decision as a giant leap towards ending childhood obesity, critics say that children will likely still be drawn towards the unhealthy food itself, even without the toy. And according to Janet Helm, R.D., author of a blog called Nutrition Unplugged, the ban could actually have the unintended consequence of making children want Happy Meals even more, giving the meals a type of "forbidden fruit" appeal. Read more...

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