Originally posted by the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco banned toys in Happy Meals, and the nation scoffed. Now that the nation is done laughing, it’s legislating.
Politicians in Arizona and Florida are pushing legislation prohibiting cities and counties in their states from casting cheap plastic figurines out of their cardboard, grease-stained fast food boxes. Yes, that’s right. They’re banning toy bans.
Legislation recently passed the Arizona House to bar cities or counties from banning any kind of incentive offered by restaurants. That includes not just toys, but a very long and detailed list of other goodies including contests, coupons, trading cards, coloring books, admission tickets, ride tokens and crayons.
Not, mind you, that any city or county in Arizona had actually proposed replicating San Francisco’s toy ban. And you thought our politicians were experts at time wasting!
“We wanted to be proactive in making sure it didn’t take place here,” explained Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association, which lobbied for the bill. “To arbitrarily say a toy in a Happy Meal or crayons given to a child in a restaurant is going to predestine them to only having fatty foods in laughable.”
Supervisor Eric Mar wrote San Francisco’s legislation which prohibits toys being offered in meals unless the food meets certain nutritional standards.
A Nebraska senator recently proposed a similar ban as San Francisco’s, though the idea was destroyed faster than Chicken McNuggets in the hands of a hungry 5-year-old.
P.S. Mar was the subject of a withering critique of the toy ban on “The Daily Show.” Well, fair’s fair so we think Jon Stewart should send his team to Arizona for a segment on a toy ban ban. Would Chucri be game?
“If I get a phone call, I’ll think about it then, you know?” he said.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cityinsider/detail?entry_id=85154#ixzz1HRAPv22Y]]>
By The Center for Consumer Freedom, March 14, 2011
A fit and trim 36-year-old marathon runner will have consumed 30 days’ worth of fast-food—from breakfast through dinner—by the time the starter gun sounds at Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon. Whether it’s his intention or not, Joe D’Amico is effectively countering food scolds’ incessant claims that fast-food is to blame for America’s obesity epidemic by fueling himself with plenty of it.
D’Amico notes on his Facebook page that many people have asked why he’s opted for such an unorthodox pre-marathon diet composed of nearly everything on the menu at his favorite chain restaurant:
“Why” … do you ask? “Why not!” … I answer. I love running and I love [fast-food]–might as well combine the two.
ABC News asked Dr. Bill Pierce, co-founder of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training in Greenville, S.C., to give his professional opinion of D’Amico’s diet. Pierce indicated that the dietary proportions of macronutrients contained in D’Amico’s fast-food diet are “ideal for marathon training,” but “not what would be recommended” to more traditional athletes.
And D’Amico said he’s not trying to promote his diet as an alternative to more traditional diets runners consume. He’s doing it to prove to everyone the value of “good choices” and “balance” in life:
I want to show this idea of life is about choices, and marathoning is no exception. It’s just important that you approach everything in a balanced way. And if you make good choices, good things are going to happen … You put in the hard work and make good choices, you’re going to get good results.
You may recall a relatively unknown reality TV producer who made headlines with his own fast-food bender. Morgan Spurlock devoted his 2004 documentary Super Size Me to overeating, becoming a couch potato and ultimately complaining that fast-food made him fat.
”If there’s one thing we could accomplish, it is that we make people think about what they put in their mouth,” Spurlock said of his “honest film about what can happen when you continue to have a fast-food diet.”
One “honest” tidbit of information that Spurlock’s film Super Size Me failed to share with viewers was that he consumed 5,000 calories a day and performed no exercise to counter the accumulation of about 3,000 excess calories. Of course, that was so he could drive home his message that we’re powerless to stop Big Food from turning us into a nation of fatties—and, he was offering himself as living proof.
Joe D’Amico, on the other hand, offers us proof that there’s nothing wrong with consuming food and beverages from a fast-food restaurant as long as we balance those choices with regular exercise and “hard work,” and make a choice for some of the healthier items on the menu once and a while. Perhaps Morgan Spurlock will be inspired by D’Amico’s example to film a sequel that doesn’t cast Americans as self-defeating losers incapable of “approach[ing] everything in a balanced way.”]]>
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|San Francisco’s Happy Meal Ban|
SUPERIOR, WI–(Marketwire – December 15, 2010) – In stark contrast to recent actions by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the Superior, WI City Council quickly and decisively determined the fate of a local issue that has recently gained national attention. By a 7-1 margin — and in a single meeting and hearing — councilors in the northwest Wisconsin city of 25,000 decided December 7 that restaurants would not be required to meet new food restrictions in order to continue the tradition of including a toy or incentive with a kids’ meal.
This was a refreshing change from several months of hearings and special-interest posturing regarding the same issue in San Francisco, according to Bob Cutler, CEO of Creative Consumer Concepts (C3) and sponsor of ObesitySolvers.com. Effective December 1, 2011, kids’ meals sold in that city’s restaurants cannot include a toy if the meal does not meet a calorie threshold or does not include a half-cup of fruits and vegetables. The legislation was passed to fight child obesity.
“Fortunately, Superior council members were in touch with their constituents and the nation’s sentiments. They recognized how such a law would interfere with citizens’ right to choose, and that it was not the government’s role to make such decisions for families,” Cutler said.
While acknowledging that kids in Wisconsin are not immune to weight-related health issues, council members promoted the generally accepted methods of physical activity, parental instruction and smarter grocery store shopping as ways to improve children’s health rather than restricting meal incentives.
At the December 7 meeting, Councilor Tom Bridge stated that none of the many Superior constituents he’d heard from supported the measure. Additionally, he doubted the role of toys and meals as sources of health issues, saying that kids would have to be eating at the restaurants often for those to be the biggest part of the problem.
C3 CEO Cutler concluded, “Citizens are best served when representatives listen and act decisively based on community priorities. That was not the case in San Francisco.”
Creative Consumer Concepts (C3) is the largest kid marketing agency in the U.S., serving the restaurant industry for 23 years. The company provides research-based recommendations and award-winning products to its clients. ObesitySolvers.com is a place for discussion regarding the childhood obesity battle, why we need solutions and why we don’t need more issues about what we choose to eat.]]>
CNN) — As a strong proponent of parental responsibility, it both amuses and angers me to see some parents lining up behind an initiative to sue McDonald’s over the inclusion of toys in their Happy Meals.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is leading the charge in this case, pushing the state of California to ban the toys, suggesting that the toys in Happy Meals are inducing children to eat burgers and fries, thus contributing to the obesity epidemic in America.
As I asserted a few weeks ago in my column supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, I fully back efforts to end obesity among our children. But at what point do some folks use common sense?
For example, in a story in the Chicago Tribune, parent Monet Parham said her 6-year-old daughter was so enamored with toys offered in partnership with the movie, “Shrek Forever After,” she pestered her mom to collect every toy. That would mean going to McDonald’s every week, since the promotion was a giveaway each week. And that’s not something Parham wanted.
So instead of being a parent and telling her child, “no,” Parham decided to become a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Instead being the grownup and not giving in to the demands of a 6-year-old, Parham thought it made more sense to sue McDonald’s to make her job as a parent easier.
I’ve long maintained that the problem today isn’t children or the world changing. It’s punk parents changing. Yes, I know that’s a strong phrase, but when a parent can’t control a 6-year-old, then we have some issues.
Do I have any biological children? Nope. But my wife and I at different times have raised six of my nieces. And when they lived in our home, we would take them to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. And when we went, instead of fries, we would order them apples. Instead of a soda, we would get apple juice or milk. Yes, it was that simple. All we did was ask for the healthier options on the menu, and the girls were happy with their Happy Meals.
Why is this so hard?
There is a fundamental role government can play when it comes to nutrition. Going after the cigarette makers who enticed children with cartoon characters to smoke? Good. Limiting trans fats in cooking? No problem here if it makes us healthier. But this is ridiculous.
What we desperately need today are real parents. Parents who understand that it is not their job to be friends with their children but be parents. Parents who get that having a disappointed child who doesn’t get his or her way all the time isn’t a bad thing. Parents who will give their child the right look when the child begins to act a fool and throw a tantrum.
I am not one of these adults who subscribe to the notion that no one can tell them what to do and they can do it all. For instance, I support sex education in schools and don’t believe that we should leave that up to the parents. It’s called education for a reason!
Count me as a major supporter of schools changing their menus to have healthier eating options. And I’m also down with school uniforms. The heck with the peer pressure of the haves and have nots based on designer clothes. None of these prevent parents from doing what they want to do with their children. It’s all about focusing on the broader needs of the child.
What has to be understood is that a lawsuit isn’t the answer to everything. And if we want our children to be healthier, banning a toy will do nothing to make that happen. Push McDonald’s to make healthy options more visible on the menu.
I love the idea of having calorie counts on foods. It has changed my mind on many occasions as to what to buy in a fast food restaurant. Push fast food joints to have a health menu option by adding a salad, fruit and/or water instead of fries and a fountain drink. All of these make sense.
Trying to ban a toy because a parent can’t tell their child no is ludicrous.
My nieces and nephews know full well that when it comes to who is in control, Uncle Ro Ro doesn’t play around. I’m not their friend or buddy; I’m their uncle. What I say goes. I don’t negotiate. I don’t consult. I don’t give in. I make it clear: my money, my rules. As my dad told me, “When you’re grown enough to pay all of your bills, you can make the call.”
If a niece or nephew wants to go to McDonald’s every week for a month just to get a toy, and the deal is we only go once a month, here is the option: “We go once a month or not at all. Your call.”
Trust me, even the biggest child pest has enough sense to figure out that once a month is the better option.
Parents, buck up and be the adult in the family, and stop blaming everything on an outside agency or corporation. Maybe McDonald’s should think of suing sorry parents for not doing their job.
Now that’s a lawsuit I’m willing to support.]]>
Dr. Mehmet Oz is taking initiative and traveling around the United States to launch his HealthCorps program and promote health through nutrition and exercise. Dr. Oz is currently trying to launch his HealthCorps program in Sacramento to fight childhood obesity.
According to an article from allvoices.com, The HealthCorps is being initiated locally at Burbank High and Sacramento Charter High School. The program is modeled after the Peace Corps. It is designed to recruit college graduates who have deferred medical school enrollment to coordinate HealthCorps for two years at a high school. The program at Sacramento’s Luther Burbank High School is being run by Chioma Enweasor, a graduate of Pomona College. She will teach 10 classes a week as well as operate an after-school club and oversee health-related events.
In a new sfgate.com blog post, Rachel Gordon discusses the recent events surrounding the San Fransisco Toy ban, that if passed, would take away any fast food marketing promotions in kids meals. According to recent reports, supervisor and creator of the controversial toy ban legislation has asked for a two-week continuance in hopes to secure a veto-proof majority.
According to Rachel Gordon, Mar asked that the vote be delayed until Nov. 2, Election Day, which might be nice for Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is in a tough race for lieutenant governor. Newsom’s Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, has attacked Newsom for being ”chief of the food police,” referring to the mayor’s earlier efforts to curb high-sugar sodas and to promote the slow-food movement.
The City of Alexandria, Virginia is trying to secure $90,000 to help fight childhood obesity. Officials said they would use the money to make minor upgrades to playground equipment and to encourage urban gardening. However, the new play areas that the city’s parents said are needed to help their children slim down will have to wait, according to an article in the Washington Examiner.
According to the article, the city has applied to Kaiser Permanente for the funding and intends to use the money to hire a consultant to assess the city’s playgrounds. Additionally, the money will go toward the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority to promote urban gardening. About 43 percent of Alexandria children between the ages of 2 and 5 are either overweight or obese, according to an Inova Health Systems study. About 25 percent of all Virginia residents are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There’s this potential that the next generation could actually have a shorter life span than the current generations that are older, and that would be a first in human history,” said Dr. Stephen Haering, Alexandria’s health director.
One has to wonder what the reason is for including restrictions on the breakfast meal breads seeing that adult customers do not purchase fast-food breakfast meals because of toy incentives.