Twice this week I have heard about a recent ban on toys being given in high calorie kids’ meals. Something is stirring about the obesity problem the United States is facing. Are you taking accountability for you and your child’s health? Or do you think we should leave the problem solving to our government?
San Francisco just put a ban on McDonald’s Happy Meals. Well, more specifically it forbids any restaurant from giving a free toy in a children’s meal that has more than a set level of calories, sugar and fat. San Francisco is the first major city to pass this ban. This ordinance requires that all children’s meals that come with a toy provide a fruit or vegetable. I’m wondering now if more cities will follow suit if this reduces the obesity problem in San Francisco.
The argument here is not just the concern over childhood obesity, but whether our lawmakers have the right to start choosing what our children eat. I see both sides and I can honestly argue that I think it’s the parent’s responsibility to guide their children when it comes to their health. Our leaders’ have the right idea but banning a toy in a high calorie meal for all families is not the right path. Yes, some restaurants in San Francisco might offer toys separately for those who still want to purchase one, but it seems that takes the fun out of the dining experience at this iconic American restaurant and other restaurants.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic. In 2010, 20.4 percent of elementary students in Utah schools were at an unhealthy weight or were obese, according to health.utah.gov. Compare that to 1994’s statistics that shows 16.9 percent of Utah’s 3rd grade students were obese or at an unhealthy weight. According to National Childhood Obesity Data, the percentage of obese children has more than tripled since the 1960’s.
It’s proven that not only are their physical health risks that come from being overweight but the psychological impact is severe. The kids who face the weight challenge feel more socially isolated, have increased suicidal thoughts, low self esteem, anxiety, depression, do worse in school and the list goes on. We all are aware of these risks. So who is responsible for fixing this disease?
Don’t blame McDonald’s for America’s fat problem. McDonald’s is trying to be a successful company. I think the blame goes to parents. I also think the blame should be put on American’s laziness and poor discipline with “bad” foods. It is our responsibility as human beings to get off our behinds and do something. We need to exercise. We need to be more conscientious of what we are putting into our bodies. It’s okay to indulge every now and again. If we are aware of everything we put in our body, it is okay to have a small high calorie meal occasionally.
People say that sometimes it’s cheaper to go to a fast food restaurant; but I disagree, it’s only convenient. Cheaper means preparing your food and taking it with you. There are so many websites and ads out there that have coupons to help people on small budgets save money on food.
I like McDonald’s and I will continue to eat there, but I don’t eat there every day or even once a week, maybe every other month. If I want to be in the best health possible, then I will choose wisely with what I put into my body. If you don’t want to be fat, then don’t eat out all the time and dine-in for a change. After all, what I’m eating is nourishment to not only my body but also my mind and spirit.