Happy Meal toys apparently possess magical powers to make you fat as a whale…or so some think.
In the sunny county of Santa Clara, California, nanny statism has risen to new levels with a proposal to ban the inclusion of a toy in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt or high amounts of sugar or fat.
"People ask why I want to take toys out of the hands of children," said Ken Yeager, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "But we now know that 70% of the kids that are overweight or obese will be overweight or obese as adults. Why would we want to burden anybody with a lifetime of chronic illness?"
I’m not sure when it became a fact that giving a crappy plastic toy made for a penny in China turns children into fat zombies hell-bent on consuming fast food in the face of their absolutely healthy, trim parents’ ultimatums to cease and desist. Or maybe it’s that the toys come to life, forcing food down babies’ throats and screaming, “Eat more calories!!” As Supervisor Donald Gage said, “If you can’t control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers.”
If it’s true that giving something (such as welfare or a Happy Meal toy) for free (except you have to pay tax dollars or the cost of the happy meal) creates utter addition, then these nanny statists have much bigger problems. There is plenty of blame and many people to point to for the American obesity epidemic, but its solution starts with individual responsibility for our selves and our children, not with some piece of Chinese plastic!
Additionally, people keep targeting restaurants like McDonald’s as the Judas to America’s health. A company makes cheap, convenient, quick, filling food. I’m not sure what is wrong with that. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. If a person decides to order fettucine Alfredo at Olive Garden, they down a whopping 1,220 calories and 75g of fat. They might decide to eat a couple breadsticks before, putting diners well over 1,500 calories in one sitting. At some hole in the wall Italian restaurants with Momma cookin’ in the back (you know, the good ones), it is even worse. These nanny statists are blindly shooting into the dark in hopes of hitting the right target.
Furthermore, weight gain is not merely a “more food means more weight” equation. Walking, swimming, jump-roping, or even breathing burns off calories and keeps the weight off. Why not require mandatory physical activity, outlaw television, and require monthly doctor’s appointments if we are so concerned with public health? Because as Americans, we believe this is wrong. Equally so, this proposal is wrong.
Maybe Santa Clara should spend more time dealing with the $273 million budget deficit it faces in fiscal year 2010 and less time discussing toys.