San Francisco voted to ban restaurants from handing out toys with meals that fail to meet basic nutritional standards for fat, calories, and sodium (for example, McDonald's can't put a toy in an "unhealthy" happy meal). Last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting support for a new initiative that prohibits the use of food stamps for purchasing beverages with added sugar.
And people are going CRAZY in protest.
In case you haven't noticed, childhood obesity is a major problem today. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years with children aged 6 to 11 years increasing from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008, and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increasing from 5.0% to 18.1%. If parents will not take responsibility to feed their children properly, then government should oversee and mandate the process. It is not "taking away rights", it is preventing child abuse. And from a bigger picture perspective, it will hopefully stem the societal burden we are forced to accept in order to care for these people who - most likely - will not be able to contribute as functioning members of society.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think withholding the toy from a happy meal will make a dent in the problem. But as a wise man once said, baby steps in the right direction are better than standing still.
As far as the outrage about mandating that government aid cannot be used to buy unhealthy crap - give me a break. If I am paying taxes to help you (which I gladly do, because I realize that people often try their best but still need help), then you damn sure need to use my money to sustain yourself in a healthy manner and not make yourself LESS likely to "get back on your feet" one day.
It is time to end all this politically correct nonsense. It is not "mean" to point out people that refuse to step up and take personal responsibility for themselves or the care of their children. If their actions did not ultimately affect us as a society, I would understand the argument. But their actions DO ultimately affect us as a society, whether in the form of increased taxes, increased healthcare costs, or simply taking the focus off of real disabilities that need our attention and are not the result of laziness, stupidity, and ignorance.
Happy Meal Ban (POLL): Food Police or Protector?
New York attempts to ban use of food stamps for soda
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Childhood Obesity