According to NYC Langone Medical Center, the regulation of fast-food kids’ meals would end up making the meals healthier.
We all know the appeal of fast food-meals, and when there’s a toy coming with the whole deal we know the situation could get out of hand quickly. According to Technomic, our children’s favorite fast-food restaurant remains McDonald’s, 37% of the kids in the study stating that they prefer it over other chains such as Subway (10%) and Burger King (8%). The average age of the children involved in the study was eight years.
With the intention of making their temptations less unhealthy, a policy was proposed in 2011 (and again in 2014) to the New York City Council, which says fast food meals that include a toy in their package must come with a serving of vegetables, fruit or whole grains. The law also adds restrictions on salt and fat, and aims at limiting kids’ meals to 500 calories.
Under these regulations, fast-food restaurants will be serving a minimal amount of sugar and fat in their kids’ meals, while they would also have to add more quality nutrition through vegetables, fruit or whole grains.
The researchers at New York University Langone Medical Center found that if the legislation is introduced it would make a perceptible difference. The research also found that posting calories on menus was not enough to show noticeable improvement in the fight against childhood obesity.
The legislation would be a step in the right direction, as it will help kids to avoid up to 50 calories a meal, which is almost a 10% reduction. However, Langone Medical Center declared that it would be a small amount considering how bad the American obesity problem is.
The Department of Health declared that 25% of all head start children are obese in New York City. Childhood obesity has always been a serious concern nationwide.
Until now, one other state applied bills on kid’s meals: California. However, in San Francisco Chronicle it was reported that McDonald’s have steered clear of the restrictions and decided to sell their toys separately from the meal for an extra charge.
Marie Baggs, who proposed the policy, hopes that this time fast-food chains won’t try to bypass the new policies. She adds that all these small changes could add up and have a great impact on the obesity problem in time, but remains to be seen whether healthy Happy Meals would soon come to fruition.
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