In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that one in three children were considered overweight. Now, the CDC has released a shocking new statistic, stating that one in six children in the United States are actually obese.
To combat this issue, New York legislators are now seeking to regulate the kids menus of fast food chains.
The bill, called the Healthy Happy Meals Bill, aims to set restrictions and regulations on the kids’ menus of fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King. Under this bill, the restaurants would be mandated to provide a whole grain, a vegetable, a fruit, no more than 35% calories from fat, more more than 600 milligrams sodium, and no more than 10% calories from saturated fat or added sugar, for every meal served with a kid’s toy.
According to researchers from New York University, these regulations would help these young fast foodies consume as much as 9% fewer calories, 10% fewer calories from fat, and 10% less sodium.
While this decrease may seem paltry when it comes to combating America’s staggering rates of childhood obesity, even small nutritional changes could help to create a better picture of health for children across the country.
However, this potential bill should not be considered the cure to childhood obesity; rather, a small step of many towards a healthier generation of individuals.
After all, this isn’t the first time legislators have tried to solve America’s rapidly escalating obesity problem. Think back to the failed attempt of then-mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban oversized sodas in New York City, which was met with massive criticism and which ultimately failed.
In California, regulators attempted to regulate the healthiness of kid’s meals by setting regulations on meals distributed with toys. To get around it, fast food chains only marketed their toys differently.
While it seems that capitalism and the health of future generations at odds, perhaps the Healthy Happy Meal Bill will go through, marking an important change in the way convenience and health intersect in America.