Law passes that curbs McDonald's Happy Meal Toys

[deleted account] ( 55 moms have responded )

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101103/hl_n...

"The San Francisco law would allow toys to be given away with kids' meals that have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar."

Thoughts? Is this a way to help with the country's obesity epidemic?

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Isobel - posted on 11/09/2010

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It upsets me how little people know or care about the level of manipulation in today's society.

Companies spend billions of dollars finding out how to get people to do what they want them to...and it works.

There are tons of scientific tests to prove what works and how. You know that airmiles card you have? Companies pay upward of $50 000 or more per list of the demographic information you provide them.

They know what time you shop, they know whether you prefer red signs or blue ones, they know if a sale on diapers makes you more likely to spend an extra $2 on rash cream that's beside it...they know if you buy local produce or imported, and whether you seem to buy wine on the same days that you buy condoms.

Consumer behavior is a psychological science that can be misused to make people do terrible things or to ignore terrible things.

I agree with Loureen when she said that a lot of adults can't see through the message...and that sucks because they count on you not paying attention to it.

Targeting those who are BY DEFINITION unable to defend themselves and make choices other than what they are BEING TOLD TO DECIDE by being bribed is WRONG.

Jane - posted on 11/03/2010

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Boy...let's blame McDonalds for all the over weight people in the world. I've never agreed with making McDonald's change their happy meals and whether or not a toy should be included in that meal.

Parents need to take responsibility for what goes in their childs mouth...NOT MCDONALD'S.

Isobel - posted on 11/25/2010

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From a marketing standpoint, you are just plain wrong. I don't know how many times I can say this...IT WORKS! or they wouldn't do it. Like I said before, be proud that it doesn't work on you but don't pretend it's not there.

And why do children deserve to get sick because their parents are too stupid to realize that they are being manipulated by marketers? They don't. The same way they don't deserve to die because their parents are too lazy and stupid to buy a car seat...oh wait...that's a law isn't it?

Sherri - posted on 11/08/2010

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The toys have no impact on the kids what so ever. My kids have NEVER asked to go to McDonalds because of the toy. I think the new law is such a joke. We only eat at such places once in a blue moon and I have one child who won't eat one single thing they serve. I honestly have to say I LOVE McDonalds so I try and avoid it and only go once once a month or every other.

Mary - posted on 11/07/2010

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Jenny and Laura, I agree that the marketing people at McD's are geniuses, and I know that kids are susceptible to it, but...

Ultimately, it comes down to a parent's willingness to succumb to their kid's whining and badgering. I guess since I grew up with parents who were more than capable at saying no to us, I don't see it as an insurmountable task. Fast food was a rare treat, reserved for the 3 hour ride to the beach, or perhaps those one or two nights a month when my grandmother babysat, and they were making her life easier by not having to cook for us. We could whine, beg and cajole all we wanted to, but to no avail. Ninety-five percent of the time, lunch and dinner were eaten at home (and it was not carry-out, nor frozen meals heated in the microwave). I also recall that, unless we ate ALL of our vegetables, there was no popsicle or cookie. To this day, I still eat all my vegetables first =).

I guess I don't understand why the onus is on restaurants to provide healthier food choices, or to make their products less appealing. To me, it is the responsibility of the parent to set limits, say no, and instill healthy habits in their child. I'm pretty sure that even if you get rid of the toy in the happy meal, the kid that is used to getting their way and going to McD's is STILL going to whine to go there. After all, what normal kid is going to want to stay home and eat grilled chicken and steamed veggies instead of chicken nuggets and fries (especially if this is already a common occurence in their life?). Plastic toy be damned, I'd choose fries over broccoli too if I was 5...and it wouldn't matter to me if it was at McD's, Friday's, The Outback or Chick Fil A.

Legislating marketing ploys is not the solution to poor parenting skills.

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Victoria - posted on 06/14/2011

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Here's an idea:
DON'T EAT FAST FOOD!!!

Problem solved.
I think my 20 month old has had one Happy Meal and 2 Wendy's kids meals in her lifetime. We've gone to subway a few times, but I think she's only had 2 kids meals from there as well.
My husband eats fast food about 15x more than I do, but he also has a crazy schedule and tends to forget his lunch/dinner (bouncing back and forth from days to nights is hard). I hardly ever take my kid to get fast food. She's been getting it a lot lately because Mommy is going to have a baby any day now.
I did forget to mention- She is the HAPPIEST kid in the world if we get her a bean burrito. We do get Taco Bell most often. I figure the only "bad" thing with the burrito is the flour tortilla, but I can live with that. (Plus I'm the one that has to change her diaper, so we limit how often we go to Taco Bell. I was a big sucker the last time she had her shots and bought her Taco Bell).

Petra - posted on 06/13/2011

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What's stupid is that it's got to be done in the first place. While I don't agree with food choices being legislated for the lowest common denominator, I can agree with the purpose for the legislation. It is completely the parent's fault that kids are obese, not McDonald's, and those parents whining that their kids are unhealthy and demanding that someone do something are the very ones at fault. BUT - if your kid is hell-bent on getting that toy and you're going to cave, at least they're not spiking their blood sugar as high as they could be... or something... I'm really bothered by this topic since I will never agree with dietary choices being regulated in this manner, but I see why it is being done in this instance. I think it is a shame that this kind of action is necessary at all.

OhJessie - posted on 06/13/2011

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You know, it's one thing to request "no toy" with the meal; it's ricockulous to be passing LAWS regulating the business from offering them. Can't people just dispose of the toy, buy it without a toy, or give the toy at a completely separate time? This is so stupid.

Cat - posted on 11/25/2010

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Yes we do, BUT I still like to go to McDs every ONCE IN A WHILE and indulge in a kids meal and get my toy! LOL haha!!! :D

Cat - posted on 11/25/2010

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Well after some thought, I guess it's not a bad idea. Either way, we don't frequent fast food restaurants too much any way. But I hope that these lawmakers start looking into the bigger picture of what is making America fat aside from just fast food restaurants. They need to start investigating HFCS, corn-fed cows, genetically modified foods and chemicals pumped into chickens, etc. Fast food is just a part of the problem.

Isobel - posted on 11/25/2010

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McDonald's has only been used as an example...the ban was proposed for all fast food restaurants. And no, people wouldn't stop eating there altogether, but people who follow the path of least resistance (the vast majority of people) would no longer be making unhealthy food choices for their children based on a bribe that was aimed at the most vulnerable members of our society.

Cat - posted on 11/25/2010

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Plus I doubt that if McDonalds stopped including a toy with a meal, that people would stop eating there. People would.

Cat - posted on 11/25/2010

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@Laura? Well happy meals are only part of the equation Laura. Kids are not just obese from McDonalds. Stupid parents feed their kids junk food, soda, chips, cookies, candy and high sugar cereals and not all of them come with a shiny new toy. A McDonalds toy is a small part of the problem. Plus McDonalds has raised their prices and in this recession the numbers have shown that people aren't eating there (including Burger King) as much as in previous years, but there are many many kids that are still obese.

And there is also evidence that schools are part of the equation, with serving processed food, flavored milk, soda etc.

And why only pick on McDonalds? What about Burger King, Wendy's, Weinerschnitzel, Taco Bell, Del Taco etc.

Cat - posted on 11/25/2010

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This seems like a silly law to me because who is buying the meals? Not the kids, the PARENTS! Plus, once in a while I like to indulge in a kids meal myself and give the toy to my child. I don't go to McDs that often, but if I do, I don't want a salad.



But seriously, proper health and nutrition comes from the home. So the toy really has nothing to do with it. JMHO. :)

Leah - posted on 11/24/2010

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Parents need to stop blaming these places for their kids becoming obese. The parent is the reason these kids are eating fast food. It's up to the parent to say no. I say no to fast food.

Amy - posted on 11/24/2010

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I don't really eat fast food, but I never understood why they gave out toys. I mean, eat all this crap and then you get a prize? That stuff is so bad for you. Even the "healthy" choices are sugar packed and poor quality. I think people making meals from scratch will help the country's obesity.

Sandra - posted on 11/21/2010

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I think it's an absolutely fabulous idea, and one that is looooong over due.

Just because you know how to make good, healthy food choices for your children, does not by any means, mean that everyone else out there does. Saying "we eat there and my kids aren't fat" or "well America isn't the actually fattest" is denying the problem. Just because it hasn't affected your children or you does not mean that it hasn't affected plenty of children out there.

While I do believe that it is up to the parent, it's pretty obvious that isn't working. The childhood obesity epidemic is real. Very real. Seven year olds shouldn't have diabetes. But it's rates are on the rise. And drastic times call for drastic measures.

April - posted on 11/20/2010

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i haven't been inside a McD since I was a little girl. I refused to go after reading a newspaper article saying that McD outbid a dog-food company for the leftover gizzard (among other things) from the chicken. Don't know where all the good meat goes but it DOES NOT go in a MCD chicken nugget. Toy or not...my kid will never eat there, ever.

Sherri - posted on 11/17/2010

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Alecia I love what you say and agree with everything except Margarine does go bad, it actually turns moldy if left out.

Alecia - posted on 11/17/2010

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and i DO care about ALL children,. but i can not parent them all and to me its liek censorship. there is too much of it out there bcuz parents dont want to parent. if there is something i dnt want my kids to eat, watch on tv, listen to, I will make sure they dnt. they only thing the govt should do in this situation (IMO) is regulate quality. if they are so concerned they would actually DO something about it instead of "punishing" all kids/ families. and yes, if once or twice a yr i wanna take my kids to mcdonalds, then we will. once in a great while isnt going to hurt....and sometimes i just need a mcky d's fry!! :p

Alecia - posted on 11/17/2010

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P.S. i agree with some, that there should be regulations on the quality of food. my hubby and i purchased 6 acres of land and are going to build on it next yr (living with in-laws atm) and we plan on raising beef c0ws, pigs and chickens. bcuz we know that even grocery store meat, produce, w/e, isnt as healthy as it should be. this way we know our meat and eggs will be grass fed, no hormones, etc. it is a shame that more peopl dont have access to "real" food. id eat something with more calories, if it had natural ingrediants...all those synthetic chemicals jst rnt god for u. i even opt for real butter made with canola oil. it has like literally 5 ingredients and so much better for u that plastic, crap margerine that u can leave on the counter and it never goes bad.....eeewww :p

Jenny - posted on 11/17/2010

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Have you ever actually seen what nuggets are made of? It's this pink paste that looks like frozen yogurt that is then dyed the colour of chicken. It's not just the calories, fat or sodium content. It's ALL of it, McDonald's (and other) is nutritionally bankrupt food with no redeeming qualities. A burger will not decompose over the course of WEEKS. Is this what is considered a treat?



If you want to give your kids crap for a treat, more power to you. However, there are millions of kids out there being fed this on a regular basis as meals and it's physically harming their bodies. Their parents are gifting them with a lifetime of health issues. If you are not one of those parents then the law doesn't apply to you does it? If it doesn't affect you then who cares? It IS affecting millions of other kids though. Don't we care about them too?



My son has been singing ba-ba-ba-ba-ba (the McDonald's tune) since he was 18 monthsd old. He's NEVER been in one but he certainly recognizes it and to this day sings the song when he sees the arches. I hate it but marketers LOVE it.

Alecia - posted on 11/17/2010

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so what if Micky D's has good advertising. so do lots of companies but it doesnt mean u buy all their products. to me its lazy blaming McDonalds. i am the parent and will make the desicion whether we go or not, not my kids. if they scream and fuss? oh well, its what kids do. i think the toys can be fun and used as a postive motivator for healhty eating IF the parent makes the right choice.

Mary Renee - posted on 11/16/2010

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I think it's stupid. When I was younger my parents were divorced and once a week (and ONLY once a week) we would go out to eat McDonalds with our dad. He had us only a couple hours on Thursdays so it was important to maximize our time together and McDonalds was something fast we could get after our softball games and girlscouts, etc. On Tuesdays, when we got to spend the night at his house, he made healthy meals, usually fish (salmon was my favorite) or chicken and rice with some sort of vegetable on the side.



I swear to god, my sister and I could play with those toys FOREVER, I'm not even lying. Especially when they were good ones like the mini-Beanie Babies or dolls or princess figurines, haha. And it helped because I think my mom got most of the "real" toys after the divorce, haha.



If I'm calculating correctly, a cheeseburger is about 350 calories, a small fry is 210, and ANY drink (sugar or not) is going to be at least 100 calories (even an apple juice box) and that would be over the 600 calorie limit. To me, that is not excessive for a growing child to eat for one meal, once a week. Growing children need 2000 calories. Even if they had three 600 calorie meals that would only be 1800 calories (although I would never suggest having three McDonalds meals due to the fat content and the quality of the meat, not due to the calories though)





BTW, I'm currently weigh only 120 pounds, six months after having a baby - so no, happy meals didn't make me obese.



I also played sports and was always involved in clubs and activities as a child and even work out with a Mommy's group now and I think that has a much bigger influence than a McDonald's toy.

Wendy - posted on 11/16/2010

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Whatever! I take my kids to McDonalds every once in awhile and they are not over weight! They love nuggets and apple dippers, They like the toy for a few minutes but they love to run around and play in the play place most of all.. It should be up to the parents where they take there kids to eat and whather or not they get toys or whatever! My kids would ask to go to McDonalds even if there was no toys...

Meghan - posted on 11/12/2010

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J hardly ever plays with the toys. He likes the french fries. It is the parent's responsibility. I chose to take him to Mcdonalds- it is a treat for him

Ashley - posted on 11/12/2010

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I thought that was the point that they would have to bring in healthy kids meals so they could sell the toy but they just want to remove the toy. I think that sucks they should have to follow some guide line on how many calories a meal is allowed to have because one meal can be aquivilant to a entire days worth of normal calorie intake if not more.

Barb - posted on 11/12/2010

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In the news today, the mayor of San Francisco is vetoing the happy meal toy law.

I agree that the final decision should be up to the parents, but with the obesity rate in the United States growing each year, it's becoming clear that something needs to be done. The obesity percentage is between 60 and 75% in the U.S. (depending on which website you look at) and is affecting our national security, economy and health care costs. This in turn, affects all of us in one way or another.

Is not allowing the toy the answer? I don't know. I believe the law was stating they could only offer the toy if the meal was nutritionally balanced. So they would rather fight for the toy than try to make a nutritionally balanced meal to sell to children? That says a lot right there.

JoAnn - posted on 11/10/2010

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I agree with the law. I also agree with the fact that it IS up to the parents to provide healthy meals for there children and to ensure that they maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight... but America IS the fattest country in the world and 'some' of the parents of America do not do there part in keeping their children healthy, at home or at McDonald's. I think the government should do whatever it can within reason to help curb the fastfood habits of American's and our eating habits in general. Taking a toy out of a Happy Meal should be just the beginning. More public awareness and rewards for healthy choices should be the main focus.

Ashley - posted on 11/10/2010

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September i do pack healthy snacks but we can be on the road for 14 hours or more during that time children need to get out and play during the winter indoor play areas are important. As for restaurants we go and he eats healthy food but when your bringing in a child that has endless energy and has had to sit for several hours it can get out of hand. All i was saying was that it would be good if they were pushed to have a healthier menu.

Sherri - posted on 11/09/2010

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I guess I don't see it since my kids NEVER ask to go to fast food restaurants. As far as toys oh yeah now that they get sucked into and honestly so do I. I write it down and add it to the Christmas list since that is the only time of year I buy such things.

Jenny - posted on 11/06/2010

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Yep. If people think marketing doesn't affect their kids they are underestimating the amount of time and money invested in ensuring that's exactly what happens.

Isobel - posted on 11/06/2010

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I think they are also making a push to force supermarkets to put the sugar cereals on the top shelf, same idea.

Isobel - posted on 11/06/2010

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Exactly...try to think of it as the same as making it illegal to advertise cigarettes with cartoon characters. Their intent is to lure children into their establishment with the promise of stupid annoying toys. Removing the toys, therefore gives parents a better chance at avoiding the begging, pleading that children do to get that ridiculous talking Shrek head.

Like I said...avoid it all you want, but don't pretend that it isn't there or that it doesn't work because it does.

Jenny - posted on 11/06/2010

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Well I guess it's a step in the right direction. A better step would be to stop serving shit food though. We also do not eat fast food. No breaded meat paste for them. I'd be happy if they banned the places altogether.

Laura - posted on 11/06/2010

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The new law is well-intentioned but misses the mark when it comes to food choices. As mentioned all ready, QUALITY of food matters and fast food is never high quality. Ultimately it the parent(s) that has the responsibility and final say on what they buy for their kids.

September - posted on 11/05/2010

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I would also like to add I do agree that the healthy choices at McDonalds are promoting healthy eating however the healthy choice on the McDonalds menu are anything but healthy. They are full of fillers and preservatives and IMO that's not healthy at all! There are far better ways of promoting healthy eating habits.

September - posted on 11/05/2010

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Ashley you say that it's hard to find healthy food on the road. Have you ever thought about making some homemade meals for your son to take with you while you're on the road? I'm just curious. I often times do this when I know that we are going to be out for a while to insure that our son eat’s healthy foods while we’re out and about. It's a great idea! :)

Mary - posted on 11/05/2010

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While well-intentioned, I think this law totally misses the mark. As many of you have pointed out, the real problem is not the toys in the meal, but rather the food choices/offerings that a parent provides a child on a daily basis. Eliminating the toy in the Happy Meal is not going to solve this problem. As Carol pointed out, this is about personal responsibility and accountability for how we feed our kids (and ourselves). Eliminating the toys in kid's meals isn't going to accomplish squat if parents continue to take their kids out to eat on a regular basis. Getting rid of all the things that appeal to children in fast food chains isn't going to stop those parents who are in the habit of of eating out a couple of times a week. I don't think they are doing it because their kids are constantly whining about needing/wanting the newest toy at wherever, but rather because it is easier, and more appealing for the PARENT than fixing lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Ashley - posted on 11/04/2010

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I agree with kelina because i think that it would be awesome to have healthy choices on the go i have to travel a lot with my son do to medical issues and it can be really hard to find decent food on the road for him. And he wants the toy so i think this is great the more healthy choices out there the better and this is going to make them make better healthier food.

Kelina - posted on 11/04/2010

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I'm going to be the fish out of water here and say i think it's a great idea. Some parents only take their kids to Mcdonalds once in a while, some never, and then there are parents who take their kids out for fast food 3-4 times a week. With these parents, often(not always) teaching their children to make healthy choices is not a priority, and while the fruit and veggies at McDonalds aren't the healthiest, it is promoting healthy eating. If that child wants a toy, they get certain foods which can help them learn how to make healthier choices outside McDonalds. I don't think it's going to be the cure-all that they seem to think it will, but i think it's a step towards it.

LaCi - posted on 11/04/2010

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Personally, I didn't want to toy. I just wanted the nuggets. Not sure about other kids.

This doesn't really concern me at all though, because we, under no circumstances, eat fast food.

Except pizza... but that's not really fast.

Johnny - posted on 11/04/2010

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On the single occasion that I took my daughter to McDonald's, I got the Happy Meal simply because that seemed to be the healthiest option. Grilled cheese sandwich (on the worst looking bread ever), apples and milk. When they asked me which toy, I said I didn't want one. My daughter knows not even to bother asking for something like that.



I do think that there are a lot of challenges put up in front of people who are struggling with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and living healthier lives. The marketing machine is huge and the appeal is ingrained into us. But somewhere along the line, we've got to take responsibility for ourselves, our own actions, and how we raise our kids.



It is impossible and impractical to legislate against every appealing thing that is bad for us. Personally, it would really help me if they could make a law that forced Starbucks to make frappucino's look less appealing to me in the photos. But that isn't going to happen, so I've got to have my own willpower.

September - posted on 11/04/2010

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McDonalds is crap, including their "healthy" choices! And no it's not going to help with the country's obesity epidemic...it's the parent’s choice to feed their children fast food...McDonalds is not to blame.

[deleted account]

I think it's lame. I was trying to type up a more detailed and coherent response, but I'm not up for that right now. ;)

Barb - posted on 11/03/2010

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I know this isn't the question to be answered, but i guess my biggest beef with mc donalds is because they have the market so saturated, and serve so many, they dominate the food industry.

They are the largest buyers of beef and poultry and therefore set the standards of how these animals are raised, produced, and processed. This means that beef or chicken that i buy at the supermarket, unless specially marked, has been raised by mc donalds standards.

What is the problem with this? Mc donalds is cheap. how is a company cheap? they don't spend alot on product.

Chickens are processed at 8 months after being pumped full of growth hormones so much so that their breasts are so big they can't even stand. And i believe within the next 5 to 10 years they are going to come out with a study that proves these growth hormones in our foods, and the high fat diets are what is pushing our daughters into early puberty.

Cows are grain fed which gives them e-coli. You can naturally get rid of e-coli by putting cows on a grass diet for a month, but instead, they process the fatty grain meat that has almost 0 nutrition and blast it with ammonia to kill the bacteria.

If that food was only sold at fast food chains i'd be able to avoid it, but it's not. It's in my grocery store.

I'm lucky i live in the country where i know people that raise grass fed beef and i can buy a half a cow or i can buy home grown chickens that are naturally fed. But i realize the rest of the country doesn't have this luxury. It should not be a luxury, it should be everyone's right to eat healthy food.

Heather - posted on 11/03/2010

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I guess I just put my children's nutritional health before what kind of toy they want...I would hope all good parents think of their kids health and realize that just because they want something, doesn't mean they'll get it or that it's good for them. Every now and then is ok, but for some of these parents it's 3 or 4 times a week. I'd bet money it's not because of the toy, but the unwillingness of mom(or dad) to choose a healthier alternative.

Isobel - posted on 11/03/2010

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my kids always ask to go to a specific place because of which toys they are advertising within their happy meals...they must be weird...or yours are still babies...oh well, which ever.

The toys work or McDs wouldn't spend millions of dollars doing it...their marketing team is quite possibly THE best in the world so nothing they do is to be nice or because it's an accident.

Yes, they are manipulating you AND your children...if you avoid it good for you...but don't underestimate it or pretend that it doesn't exist cause it does.

Barb - posted on 11/03/2010

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Personally i don't really think the toy has much to do with it. I think the price is the main factor in why so many people eat there.

Heather - posted on 11/03/2010

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Oh yes. McDonald's is "LURING OUR CHILDREN IN WITH TOYS" *evil laugh*...and those parents are happily driving them there, purchasing the food, and feeding it to their children. Mickey D's already offers apples and milk with kids meals as a healthier alternative. How about we hold parents accountable for their children's eating habbits. Just a thought... ;)

[deleted account]

I agree with Jane. When we eat fast food, I generally share and adult size meal with my daughter and we have leftovers. So no need for us to buy a happy meal plus food for me. One the rare occasion that she's gotten a happy meal (grandparents) the toys gets thrown in the trash. They're never that great anyway.

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