About Gastric Girl

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Tomball, TX, United States
My name is Laurie. I'm 34 and I live in a suburb of Houston, TX. My life isn't super exciting or ultra dramatic, but I love it! My blogs are just a peek into my life as I know it. I'm quite random and have an opinion on everything, but I love everyone's aspect on things, even if I disagree. The world would be quite boring if not! :-)


McDonald's Toys and Obesity - Your Opinion?

I heard about this on the radio this morning:
McDonalds may get hit with a lawsuit over its "Happy Meal" toys.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is threatening to file a lawsuit against the fast food chain claiming the toys are causing kids to become overweight.

It says McDonald's unfairly and deceptively markets the toys to children, who then nag their parents to take them out to eat.

The group is hoping McDonalds will agree to stop selling the toys before a suit is filed. CSPI says the suit would be filed in state court.

The center has not settled on a state yet, but the group believes the toys in Happy Meals violate state consumer protection laws in Massachusetts, Texas, the District of Columbia, New Jersey and California.

But, McDonalds disagrees, and says it offers more food varieties than ever before. It also requires happy meals to contain 600 calories or less.

What are your thoughts on this? 


freckleonthenose said...

I'm so glad you posted this - I'm fascinated by this story!

I don't like that junk food is already appealing to impressionable kids. Adding a "prize" to the mix makes it even more so.

That said, kids aren't driving themselves to McDonald's and ordering Happy Meals. Parents have control over whether or not (and how often) they frequent fast food restaurants. If you don't like the message McDonald's is sending, avoid going there! I think these places have also done a nice job incorporating healthier choices - apple slices instead of fries, etc. To what end do they stop being responsible for the decisions of others?

On a personal note, every once in a while I do order a Happy Meal. And the little kid in me would be really disappointed if there was no longer a prize in the bottom of the bag. :)

Plus, some places go out of their way to make the prizes educational! My niece had a mini-book about oceans that she was reading yesterday - she was loving every second of that!

Anyway, I'm so sorry for the novel! I bet this is just one of those things we all have an opinion on, haha. Thanks for posting this! :)

Christine said...

Hello personal accountability anyone?

Ugh I hate that we live in a society where it's everyone else's fault that we are as fat/lazy/dumb as we are. "McDonalds made me do it!" No sillyhead, YOU made the choice to do it! Grah.

And what parent takes orders from a child anyway??

What a sue-happy culture we are. It is so sad, really.

(I like Freckleonthenoses's post)

Heather said...

I like both of the posts/comments! It's so true that people like to blame someone or something else for their flaws/faults. We did it! We arrive at the McDonald's (or where ever) and we actually place the order. Don't these people know that you can pay for the happy meal toys separately? I've done it, it's true! I don't have to have crap food to get a toy. I can take my little guy in for a soft serve cone and get him a toy - in fact, it's healthier and cheaper than the entire happy meal. But I have the choice - just like every parent, to say, "No, we're eating at home".

Boy, this is sad! This is like me trying to sue the roller rink because I can't skate wihtout falling. They provided the skates, right? So isn't it their fault I fell? Sure, that's extreme, but is there really a difference?

Ok, now to step off my soap box. Who knew this would cause such a stir? :-)

Christine @ Rain Song Farm said...

Great post, Laurie!

I'm with the other commenters - we have to take responsibility for our purchases. I'm not a parent, so I don't know how hard it is to combat the advertising overload kids are subjected to, but still...

Plus, it isn't like there is a new toy every week, is there? If the kids are eating home-prepared food most of the time, a Happy Meal here and there, just to get the latest toy, can't be too bad. (I personally try not to support the fast food industry, but I am realistic that not everyone is going to feel that way).

I really like a lot of the work that CSPI does. They make a sincere effort to educate the public. But sometimes they go overboard, and this is one of those times. Maybe they are bluffing, just to get the news coverage.

I didn't realize you can get the toy without the meal. Gee, I wonder why McD's doesn't advertise that?! Heather, maybe you could start a grassroots movement to get people to skip the meal and go straight for the toy!

p.s. Laurie, I hope you have a great trip to Orlando!

Laurie (GastricGirl.com) said...

I love everyone's comments so far! I am in agreement with you all. McDonald's doesn't make children fat. Yes, it's a contributing factor, but the parent is the responsible party for the food getting into the child's mouth. And yes, the restaurants are getting much better at providing more healthy choices, but how many parents are actually making that decision when ordering?
Keep the comments coming... I'm loving it! (yeah, i meant to do that! LOL)

Janine said...

I agree with most of the comments above. For me - it was my parents owng a shop that I had access to lollies and chipies and coke all the time, whenever I wanted it. Do I blame my parents for my being overweight.....no, as it was me who put the food in my mouth, not them. My brother was in the same position and didn't do it.....so why did I, because I am the one with the food addiction. Actually it was probably more of the secret eating I did with the money I earnt from working that caused me to be overweight, as even at the shop my parents still monitored what I had and how much.......just when they couldn't see me was the problem.

*Christie* said...

I agree with everything said here but I also want to mention that unless something has changed, aren't you able to buy the toy without the happy meal? I remember as a kid paying $1 for a toy (usually to try and collect them all or whatever) and not needing to buy a happy meal to get it. So if a kid REALLY wants a toy a parent could still choose to get them the toy without the bad food. Just my thought... again I'm not sure if they still allow this or not.