Wow, it has been a long time since I have written! I have definitely missed the blogosphere – but finals, graduating, working, and moving got the best of me. However, I am finally settled and ready to dive back into it.
Something that I have been hearing a lot about lately are the toys in children’s fast food meals. We all know that McDonald’s has come under scrutiny about this issue for years – targeting kids with Ronald McDonald, being the first to offer toys in meals, having playgrounds inside their restaurants. The fast food restaurant has even been accused of their mascot being the next Joe Camel. I can fully understand that targeting children with meals that are over 600 calories, most of which are from fat, is pretty unethical. However, I don’t completely agree with all of the turmoil that McDonald’s is bearing.
They are simply not the only restaurant with kids’ menus, not the only restaurant that offers toys, and certainly not the only restaurant whose meals are not ideal for children. Ultimately, isn’t it the parents responsibility to make sure that their children are healthy? I do not remember getting as excited when driving to see the Golden Arches much so as being thrilled when my mom made my brother and I cucumber bite-sized sandwiches. Raisin Bran was my favorite cereal, and I barely even knew what white bread was. I will never forget when my dad told me ‘ranch dressing clogs your heart up because it is so full of fat’ – I will still very rarely enjoy this dressing on a salad. These reactions were the direct result of my parents instilling healthy eating habits in us at a very young age, along with staying active every day. The difference was, we saw my parents eating healthy and staying active, so we naturally wanted to emulate their actions.
Jack in the Box has recently removed their toys from kids’ menus, which I commend them for – but I don’t know that this will eliminate the obesity epidemic or change widespread behavior. Burger King still has a cartoon mascot; when will this need to be changed as well?
It starts with teaching our children about healthy habits, and making those habits enjoyable. I truly believe that in order to see a change in health, parents need to begin educating their children young; and explaining why it is important.