A cheeseburger, small fries and a triple-thick shake constitutes a McDonald’s Happy Meal in the US and clocks up 1,090 calories, although reassuringly the small plastic toy that’s included in the meal is usually inedible and thus calorie-free.
Leroy Comrie, a Councilman from Queens in New York, blames his portly size of 152kg on scoffing Happy Meals as a child and wants the city to follow in San Francisco’s footsteps by outlawing the toys, in an effort to promote healthier eating habits.
There are undoubtedly many problems with the toys included in Happy Meals - their plastic toxins can’t be great for the environment and they contribute to landfill, plus when Macca’s run out of a certain toy it can lead to a sibling war. But the toys themselves are not responsible for fat kids.
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Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick, but from my limited knowledge of parenting (based solely on the experiences of friends and acquaintances), I thought it was parents who bribed their children with McDonalds. But apparently that’s just not the case.
At least, not in America, where according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington D.C based consumer advocacy group, kids are forcing their parents to take them to McDonalds and being “lured” into “childhood obesity” by their “unfair” and “deceptive” marketing strategies. And they’ve threatened to sue the restaurant chain if they fail to stop including toys in their Happy Meals within the next 30 days.
“McDonald’s marketing has the effect of conscripting America’s children into an unpaid drone army of word-of-mouth marketers, causing them to nag their parents to bring them to McDonald’s,” group director Stephen Gardner told Telegraph.co.uk.
“[They’re like] the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children. It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction.”
But what about those of you raising kids in Australia, when it comes to feeding them McDonalds. Is the Happy Meal really a symbol of evil, or just a quick and easy alternative to cooking after a busy day?
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