Treehugger has a post weighing the decision in California's Santa Clara County to ban Happy Meal toys and similar kid-enticing promotions for high-calorie children’s meals. The writer Brian Merchant looks at both sides of the sure-to-be-contentious measure and comes out in favor of it through a parallel to the banning of cigarette ads that appeal to kids:
As it is, it's tough for parents to convince kids that healthier, toy-less meals are in fact better than fatty, toy-filled ones. That's what I call an uphill battle. It's a powerful marketing tool designed to allure the young un's into eating their food, and eating poorly. I argue that we've outlawed advertising cigarettes to children for good reason, and seen a positive health benefit from it. Banning Happy Meals and such promotions that feed on and strengthen kids' desires for unhealthy foods is in the same vein.Are Santa Clara’s toyless Happy Meals a step towards a more healthy diet for American’s children? Or does the measure overstep parent’s right to choose what’s best for their kids, as argued by Supervisor Donald Gage in his dissent?