Across the country, kids are getting sick at alarming rates from the food they eat. More than ever, children are inundated with junk food marketing, even as studies show that reducing predatory marketing improves kids’ health.
Each year the fast food industry sells more than $5 billion in kids’ meals by attracting kids with toy giveaways. It’s time such incentives stop being attached to food that is anything but happy for our children’s health.
That’s why the New York City Council is introducing legislation to set nutritional standards for kid’s meals sold with toy giveaways.
Take action below to urge the New York City Council members and Mayor Bloomberg to take a stand for kids’ health and pass this measure.
- Mayor Bloomberg
- New York City Council
I am writing to express my support of the bill to set nutritional standards for kids’ meals sold with toy giveaways, introduced to City Council on April 6th, 2011. I urge you to support and advance this legislation, which is a critical step forward in protecting the health of New York children. In New York City, obesity rates have doubled since 1990, with 25 percent of Head Start children and 28 percent of high school students considered overweight or obese. Obesity is the greatest preventable risk factor for diet-related diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Studies from the Institutes of Medicine to the National Bureau of Economic Research confirm that when you reduce McDonald’s-style junk food marketing to kids, you improve the health of children.
Toy giveaways are a primary means of peddling junk food to children. Each year McDonald’s sells more than $5 billion in kids’ meals on the backs of toy giveaways. A recent study by the Yale Rudd Center of the nutrient quality of children’s meals at fast food restaurants found that only three percent of these meals meet the nutrition standards set by the National School Lunch Program for food served to children eight years of age and younger. And, market researcher NPD Group reports that over 1/3 of kids under six say that what they like best about such meals is the toy.
This policy gives parents a hand in making healthy choices for kids, even as the fast food industry develops new marketing techniques to circumvent and undermine parents.
In all, creating a healthy food landscape isn’t about insulating children from the world around them – the limited choices McDonald’s and others afford them. It is about making the world around them healthier to live in and full of real choices. This policy is one important step toward this end.
New York City has always been at the forefront of innovative strategies to improve public health. This is the next step in providing our kids with a better opportunity to lead healthier lives.
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