Childhood obesity is a problem in this country. We all recognize that fact. And we understand that a government-sponsored program to promote good nutritional habits is seen as a positive step.
But the city of San Francisco has gone too far. They are banning Happy Meals, and there should be an uproar from the masses.
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors (akin to our local City Council) has voted - by a veto-proof margin - to forbid restaurants from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat. The ordinance would also require restaurants to provide fruits and vegetables with all meals for children that come with toys.
Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure, told the Los Angeles Times: "We're part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice."
It sounds more like they are being food Nazis.
This measure may be a great move for the nutritional needs of our children. Most of us aren't experts in the field, so we really don't know. But what we do know is that a governmental entity - be it city, county, state or federal - has no business dictating what we eat or what our restaurants serve. Last we heard this is still a free-market society - or at least it is in 49 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all other U.S. properties.
The government deciding the nutritional values of our food is simply absurd. It should be McDonald's decision how much nutritional value is in their food and a parent's decision whether their child eats there or not. If the City of San Francisco (California's Santa Clara County has a similar ban) wants to pound the public with nutritional information, then okay. That's great. But that is as far as the legislating should go.
Fast food and Shrek toys aren't making our kids fat. Yes, it doesn't help, but a Happy Meal isn't the culprit. Our kids are overweight because they are lazy. They sit in front of the X-Box all weekend instead of going outside and playing. If cities want to help, get the creeps out of the parks and promote more activities for kids. That would be a good start — and a needed government program.
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