Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This wouldn't happen if kids could vote

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – A California county is stopping restaurants from using toys to lure children to high-calorie, salt-laden food such as popular "Happy Meals" hawked by fast-food giant McDonald's.
Elected officials in the county of Santa Clara, in the heart of technology center Silicon Valley south of San Francisco, voted Tuesday to enact the ban to fight an "obesity epidemic" sweeping California and the United States.
"This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids meals," said Ken Yeager, the county supervisor behind the ban. "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes."
Actually Ken, the unhealthy food is the prize. Parents run their kids to fast food restaurants because (a) it's cheap and (b) the kids like the food. Ken is another one of those politicians who thinks you can legislate the way people think and feel. It's why Prohibition failed and why this will also fail. Take the toy out and people will still eat the food. Why? Because they like the food. Mostly, it's because parents can't afford to take their kids out to nice places that serve um ...vegetables. They run to fast food because they have dollar menus and giant cups of cola for 75 cents. Parents eat there too, and they don't get a prize.
The restaurants are still going to be serving the high-everything meals, and taking a plastic toy out of them will merely reduce the possibility that a child will choke on a plastic toy. Congratulations for making the world safer for fat kids.
"Obesity is literally an epidemic," county public health director Dan Peddycord said in remarks to the board of supervisors.
"If food meals sold in restaurants contain too many calories, high fats, high sugars, high sodium and are attached to an incentive item like a toy, that is part of the environment we make our decision in."
Literally? Well, an epidemic is technically the spread of a disease. The big problem is that legislators think that they are fighting a disease. What they are really fighting is common sense. Unfortunately, common sense is not an epidemic.
And now, a break from the nonsense to hear a few seconds of something relevant:
Harlan Levy of McDonald's was part of a fast-food restaurant contingent that turned out to oppose the ban.
"It substitutes the county's judgment for the judgment of parents," Levy told the board. "It does nothing to address a holistic response to the problem."
For example, the ban doesn't change sedentary lifestyles that have children sitting watching television or playing video games, Levy argued.
OK, now back to the nonsense...
"It is unfair to parents and children to use toys to get them hooked on eating high-calorie, high-fat foods early in life."
Fat, salt and sugar form an addictive combination in the brain and adding a toy reward to the formula makes the habit even harder to kick, according to county health officials.
Supervisor Liz Kniss equated the fast-food meal toy ban to instituting speed limits on roads or barring cigarette smoking on commercial flights.
And we all know how successful speed limits are, don't we? That's why there are so many speeding tickets given out. Maybe if you put a prize at the end of the road, people wouldn't drive so fast?
I only wish the toy had anything to do with the food. Do you think kids would eat asparagus if you put a toy on the plate? No, they would tell you that it is gross and makes your urine smell. That's why they run to the Twinkies. Twinkies don't have toys in the box either. Neither do potato chips, sugary snacks and ice cream. Why do kids eat that stuff? Try putting a prize at the bottom of an ice cream container. That would be one soggy prize.
I suppose the politicians responsible for this irresponsible legislation think that they are doing someone a favor. It makes a nice news story and on its surface it appears to be helping. But in reality (we do deal with reality on occasion) if you opened a restaurant that served nothing but low-fat, low-calorie meals it would be out of business in less than a year. Why? Because people like this junk, and putting a prize in a box doesn't change that. When I was a kid we didn't get prizes in boxes and we still ate the crap.
Wake up.


susan said...

Parents do get a toy when they take their kids to Micky D's. The kids play in the ball yard and the parents get some deep breathing away from Junior.

Anthony, please if you haven't seen Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, watch it on Hulu. It's wonderful. The kiddies didn't know any vegetables other than french fries. It was eye opening and scary.

I had fast food yesterday for the first time in over a year. My stomach still feels miserable. Paw hugs and head bonks to you and Thor.

Kcoz said...

I’m a cause and effect kind of guy and if you look at it this way it is the politicians who are responsible for the obesity in this country. When I was growing up in the 60’s my mother was a stay at home mother who cooked our meals every day…we went to Mickey-D’s once in a while but it was not our main diet…. most family’s lived this way and the fat kids at school were rare. My father worked a forty hour work week at a manufacturing plant and raised five children on his wages…we had heath care, dental, vision…ect., all provided by his employer. We lived in a brick house in the suburbs with a large backyard and a swimming pool…his wages were higher than the minimum wage but not by much…back then one could actually live on the minimum wage if necessary. We went to a public school that was well built, well maintained, well supplied with good teachers. This was because a large manufacturing corporation was located in our town and actually paid property taxes to our community.

Now it takes two incomes for the average American to raise a family and that is at risk…soon the older children will have to drop out of school to get jobs and help out….back to child labor. They live on fast food, microwave meals and delivered pizza…all because of time restraints. Prices on everything have risen, as the wages have remained stagnate and the other costs of health care, cost of living, and new unnecessary taxes have sucked what is left out of them…

And it is the corrupt political environment that has created this, the minimum wage is a joke, any corporation still located in this country pays a minimum in taxes if they pay at all, and the cheep illegal immigrant labor has frozen our wages…Health care, non-existent for most Americans! It has been a generation of corrupt politicians concerned for their own greed and not for the well being of its citizens that has caused this environment and way of life that has led to this obesity problem…

…not the prizes in the meals as you have pointed out.

Remember the “Haymarket Riots”!!