Fast Food Chains Charging 10 Cents Extra for Toy in Kids’ Meal

Health & Wellness on 12.01.11
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Everywhere you look there are fat kids. And adults are starting to feel guilty about it. After all, these kids aren't becoming overweight all on their own. I used to judge parents for this but now that I'm responsible for coming up with something nutritious three times (or more) a day for a small mouth, I completely get it. It's a lot easier and way more convenient to find not-so-healthy foods rather than healthy foods. There are a lot of barriers, such as time to prepare fresh food, the cost of buying produce vs. a box of macaroni and cheese, and ultimately what kids' taste buds are more interested in.

It's not just older kids either. Studies show the prevalence of overweight children in the U.S. who are two to five years old has doubled since 1975. And it's not just a vanity problem. It's a health crisis, because obese children can develop heart disease, high blood pressure, liver and kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and other "adult" problems.

So, when I read about a city law in San Francisco banning free toys with kids' meals that are high in fat, sugar and salt, I totally understand their intentions. If anything, it will make parents stop and think before buying that next happy meal. According to an Associated Press article published in the San Francisco Chronicle, McDonalds and Burger King have decided to charge a dime for the toys that used to come free in the kids meal.

However, I don't believe you can legislate common sense. Responsible parents should know these types of meals should be occasional treats (with or without the toy.) I understand it's easy, and pretty darn cheap, to purchase a kids meal at the drive through window. But, I think most parents know they're not doing their kids any favors by giving them fast food. Just like we know having ice cream every day would be frowned upon or fried chicken several times a week for dinner. So, kudos to San Francisco for making us stop and think about it before we purchase that kids meal. If you do make it an occasional treat, I say don't feel guilty about it. And spring an extra 10 cents for the toy to make it a true treat.

McDonald's is using the toy money to build a Ronald McDonald House for families of young patients at the new University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center at Mission Bay. Burger King hasn't decided what to do with the toy proceeds, but I'm hoping it will be something to help keep kids happy, not fat and happy.

Other Articles About Fast Food For Kids
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McDonalds Says Not Our Problem That Parents Can't Say No