Thursday, May 13, 2010

Taking the 'Happy' out of 'Happy' Meals

Source: Macleans.ca (Summary by NIM)

Can you imagine the day that children are no longer rewarded for making unhealthy food choices by receiving toys and trinkets? Yeah, wouldn't be such a 'Happy' meal anymore, would it? Well, that day has actually come in Santa Clara County, California with the ban of giving out toys with meals that don't meet a certain standard of nutritional criteria. According to county supervisor Ken Yeager, “This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy foods and prizes,”.

From a psychology perspective, kids are being taught to make unhealthy food choices from a very young age by being rewarded with things they value like dolls and action figures relating to the most popular film or TV series at the time. Eventually, the 'reward' is no longer necessarily the toy, but the meal itself. As you can see, this pattern carries on into adulthood along with a number of health consequences!

Even though there are actually no McDonald's restaurants in Santa Clara County, this "political statement" is making headlines and adding publicity to a growing movement that is trying to keep kids healthy today so that they can grow up to see a brighter future. If you can believe it, even Disney ditched their happy meal deal a little while ago!

Find out more by reading the article called "Un-Happy Meals" from Macleans.ca (May 10, 2010).

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