Monday, March 29, 2010

Childhood Obesity Is Fueled By Toys

We're doomed. Doomed. Once again, leave it to a county in California to be introduced a bill that "If it is passed, this would be the first such legislation in the nation." California: Leading the way to making sure that no one is responsible for themselves anymore. And we're going to be pushed further down that path by making sure that there is not, of all things, a toy in a child's fast food meal. Of course. No, wait. What now?

Correct. According to the fine folks over there at KGO-TV, "A Santa Clara County lawmaker will introduce legislation to stop restaurants from handing out toys with fast food menu items geared toward children." OK, then. Almost all I have to say is that this guy had better not be a SCC lawmaker for very much longer. Are you freaking kidding me?!

Let's hear the lame ass justification for this waste of time and money effort, shall we? According to a one Ken Yeager, the apparent dip ass behind this measure, "One in three kids are overweight or are obese, and we're finding out more and more that if you're obese as a child, you're going to have health problems your entire life." Hmm. I don't disagree with that statement, but I kind of doubt that we're "just finding out" that a fat kid is going to make for an unhealthy adult. That seems to be a stretch. I also highly doubt that the one in three kids that is overweight is in that condition because they received a little plastic R2D2 with their burger. I highly doubt that.

Yeager claims that "Ten out of 12 meals that are associated with the promotional toys are the high-caloric, high-fat, high-sodium meals." First of all, which 12 meals are we talking about here? There aren't 12 meals with toys that are available at just one chain, so what is he talking about? Sadly, due to extremely poor reporting, this question isn't answered.

Also, how many meals that are not associated with a promotional toy (ie, the ones that aren't "for children") are "high-caloric, high-fat, high-sodium" meals? At a fast food place? I'm guessing most of them or at the very least, half of them. It's fast food, for cryin' out loud. But again, sadly, due to poor reporting, this aspect is not further explored.

Supervisor Yeager wants his proposed ordinance to regulate " food restaurants' ability to offer toys or other incentives with kids' meals." Um..."other incentives"? What are "other incentives" when you're buying a sack of toy-laden fast food? What other incentives would their be? NOT being hungry when you're done? That's an incentive, all right, but regulating "an end to hunger" seems odd. What other incentives could he be referring to? Hookers? Can they give out hookers? That'd be an incentive, but probably not for children. Hmm. This is a head scratcher, all right.

Wait! I just came up with one! When I buy Coca-Cola products, there is a little code inside of the 12-pack that will give me My Coke Rewards Points when I enter the codes online. If I save up enough points, I can buy a Coke logo emblazoned yacht or something similar from the Coca-Cola store. I guess those points would be considered an "incentive" to buy Coca-Cola products (that and a really strong desire for the unattainable goal of purchasing a Coke yacht). And since regular sodas are filled with at least one five pound bag of sugar per 12 ounce can (so I've heard from the anti-soda groups), those points are making kids who drink those products obese. Is Mr. Yeager proposing not allowing the sale of any products from various carbonated beverage manufacturers who use promotional gimmicks to sell us their "liquid death"? Of course he isn't. Has he suggested such a measure? Of course he hasn't. You know why? Because it would be idiotic, that is correct. (My words, not his. Given that he wants the "no toy" ban to be in effect, he'll probably consider this scenario next.)

Of course, this must make sense to Mr. Yeager because, as we all know, if a child wants something, it is the duty of the parent to immediately purchase that which the child wants immediately. Thus, if the child wants the high calorie, high fat, high sodium, very tasty meal with a toy in it, well, the parent will have to buy that child the meal, no questions asked! And we also all know that you must take your children to have fast food all of the time when they are little. That must be the case because, if kids are as fat as Mr. Yeager says that they are and that the meals with toys are to blame, then those kids must be eating that stuff morning, noon and night. It's a shame, really. (God, what a moron.)

Let me just briefly summarize what this Yeager fellow thinks is a good idea, OK? He thinks that it's a good idea for the government to tell companies that they cannot put a toy in with a kid's meal. That's right. A toy. He believes this to be the solution to childhood obesity, for some reason. So rather than let parents regulate the food intake of their own children, Mr. Yeager believes it is best if the government takes AWAY choices from people in order to get them to make what the government believes to be the right choice. Sure, that sounds like the America I know.

Mr. Yeager, I'm going to present you with an alternative. How about, instead of taking out the toy, you let the fast food companies leave the toy in. But instead of just handing the food to the child (or the parent, wherever they are in this scenario. From what I can tell, these fast food places are in some sort of Lord of the Flies scenario, as good parenting versus bad parenting doesn't seem to be a factor), how about you have the kid run around the restaurant three times before he can get his food? The parent places the order at the drive-thru speaker, pulls up to the first window and then lets the kids out of the car. The kids then sprint around some sort of Olympic sized track and when they finally make it to the finish line (assuming that they do), they get their meal AND their toy handed to them for them to enjoy. It seems reasonable. They'll have gotten some exercise (which we all know they don't get enough of) and they'll still get fed. It'll balance out. The yin and the yang. I can support installing Olympic sized running tracks around all of the McDonald's in the county. THAT I could support. Banning companies from putting a toy in the meals for kids? You've gotta be dry shavin' me.

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ben said... conducted a poll among 301 viewers of a video clip highlighting potential government regulation of toys in fast-food kids’ meals. Results found that majority of parents (82%) reported that the U.S. government should not regulate toys in fast-food kids’ meals. In addition, the majority of parents (77%) indicated that child obesity rates would stay the same if toys were banned from fast-food restaurant meals.
More in depth results can be seen at:

Mare said...

Hi, Ben.

Good to know that it's just those who are elected to public office who think that asinine ideas such as the banning of toys in kids meals would help lower obesity rates in children.

Soooo, the public is smart enough to know that this is a ridiculous idea, yet the public is not smart enough to not elect morons like this guy into office. Interesting. I don't know what that means, but it means something.

~ Mary