Some Arizona lawmakers are determined to ensure that nobody messes with the toys in unhealthy fast food meals for kids. Last week the state's House Commerce Committee voted to block local governments from imposing any restrictions on giveaways offered by restaurants, which includes everything from toys and games in fast food meals to coupons for seniors.
While there are currently no proposed bans in Arizona, the Arizona Restaurant Association, which helped draft the bill, is clearly shaken by the hard-won fast food toy ban for meals high in fat, sugar and salt that recently passed in San Francisco, as well as those underway in Nebraska and other states. But the preemptive legislation restricts the rights of local municipalities that may wish to encourage more nutritious options for children and curb the predatory marketing tactics that fast food restaurants use to lure kids to unhealthy fare. The bill, HB 2490, was approved 6 to 2, and is now is now headed for a full vote in the House.
As fast food marketing tactics aimed at children have grown increasingly more aggressive and childhood obesity levels continue to rise, cities and counties should be allowed to enact legislation that protects our most vulnerable eaters. Considering Arizona was recently rated as one of the top ten states with the deadliest eating habits – a concerning statistic largely attributed to fast food consumption – the state's lawmakers should be looking for ways to support healthy eating initiatives, not block them.
Please urge Arizona to put an end to HB 2490, and let communities decide if they want to ban toys in unhealthy kids' meals.
Photo credit: Colin Grey