New York: No McDonald’s Toys for Girls and Boys

Here’s the Beef

It’s New York City’s proposed ban on toys in fast food that’s caught the eyes of the media and the moms.

The New York State Restaurant Association released the following statement in response to the proposed ban on April 5th, 2011

“This proposal robs parents of choice while increasing the already burdensome regulation on local restaurant owners,” said Andrew Rigie, executive vice president of the New York City Chapter of NYSRA. “We need to find a more effective way to combat obesity than by taking toys away from children and choices away from their parents. The New York State Restaurant Association looks forward to working with the City Council and other groups in a meaningful way to help educate children and parents about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.”

There is an except to the rule however. NY 1 reports that

Toys would only be allowed in meals under 500 calories with fewer than 600 milligrams of sodium.

Imagine being a child and told you have to “count calories” to be rewarded. What kind of mindset is that instilling– especially for young children? It’s not about how many calories in every meal, rather it’s about a balanced diet. If a child is physically healthy, active and taught to make healthy choices, they shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of fat America. Sorry, NYC but your problem isn’t every ones and your proposal solves no ones.

Making a Change

Reducing childhood obesity isn’t a one-step/one time process, and certainly toys are not the root cause of obesity. We won’t start to see childhood obesity rates dropping significantly due to one or two “acts” or “bills” passed. The truth is, we need to get to the root of the cause by spending our tax money more effectively. If that means pouring 1 billion in federal money into parental education programs, that’s certainly more effective than telling a kid “no toy for you”. Plus, those toys are often over shadowed by iPhones, iPads and the like these days.

How about promoting healthy applications? How about targeting parents who are the primary influencers of a child’s diet while growing up? Now that’d just be juvenille.


3 comments on “New York: No McDonald’s Toys for Girls and Boys

  1. I don’t know…I’m actually in favor of this bill. I wrote about a similar act that passed in San Francisco a few months back. I don’t see a need to have toys in fast food meals. It only entices kids to eat unhealthy meals. Sure, it’s not always the kids fault, but we shouldn’t be encouraging them to eat fast food in the first place. It’s a marketing ploy that really only benefits corporate fast food chains. But I do agree we should put more federal money into health/nutrition education.

  2. Hi FoodFitnessFreshair,
    First, thanks for your comment. It’s great to know that others also believe more federal money into educational programs would be effective. Taking away toys in meals is simply not going to solve any of the issues we’re facing with unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity/self esteem etc. Toys and marketing aren’t the cause of the issue, rather, a too-perfect scapegoat for the true roots behind this crisis. Toys are one symptom and the time and money being spent to eliminate them. We need to be focused on changing a culture that doesn’t exercise and eats the wrong food rather than simply taking toys out of happy meals.

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