Childhood Obesity And Fast Food Essay

1642 words - 7 pages

In recent years there has been a growing epidemic of obesity, especially in America. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey posted on the Center for Disease Control website there are 12.5 million children from ages 2 through 19 that are obese. Many people are starting to complain that the commercials and ads for these restaurants are the result of such an incline in obesity. Although there have been current ad campaigns aiming at children to live a healthy life style there are still hundreds of advertisements that are putting restaurants in a sort of ultimatum position. Either restaurants change their advertisements or they improve their menus. In 1979 McDonalds debuted their world famous Happy Meals to the public. It included a hamburger, soft drink, French fries, and do not forget a toy, which the happy meals have become so famed for having. To this day McDonald's as well as Taco Bell, Burger King, and Wendy's all offer a kid's meal that accompanies a toy. Children of course don't seem to mind the free gift they receive with every meal; however parents are becoming enraged that the free toy is a lousy gimmick making kids unhealthy. Most of these advertisements use current children's movies and already existing toys. The ads are also not limited to games and prizes that are usually attached on the bag or box of the meal. Pretty much the more popular the toy the more likely children are going to ask their parents to buy the meal. Well some parents and advocates have had enough of the promotion of toys and have taken strides to no longer have toys in their child's meal. One county in particular, Santa Clara in California, has already started the movement to ban toys. In April of 2010 6 county officials voted to ban the use of toys given in the meals that exceed a certain calorie intake. The ban would make restaurants only be able to give a toy if the calorie intake is under 600 as well as other nutritional values were met at a certain standard. According to Ken Yeager, a county supervisor, 2 "it is unfair to parents and children to use toys to capture the taste of children when they are young to get them hooked on eating high sugar, high fat foods early in life." Santa Clara is not alone though. San Francisco is joining them with the ban of toys in the meals. With an out of the ball park vote of 8-3 by the city's board of supervisors, Happy Meals in San Francisco will also need to meet a certain standard in order for a toy to be added to the meal. And not to mention, there would also need to be an additional serving of fruits or vegetables. Aside from marketing toys to children restaurants have tried to hop on the health and nutrition band wagon and improve their menus. Wendy's has added mandarin oranges to their side items, both McDonald's and Burger King offer some sort of apple slice side served with a dipping sauce, and all three restaurants offer milk as a drink instead of soda. It seems to be that the more and more...

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