Every kid loves to order a Happy Meal from McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant that offers a free toy along with a box of French Fries, a burger and a sugary beverage. Happy as it might be though, the meal is definitely not healthy as well.
With childhood obesity rates on the rise, authorities are trying to come up with new regulation to encourage restaurants to provide healthier options for kids to eat.
Thus, the New York City Council has recently proposed a new “Healthy Happy Meals” bill, that largely resembles the one in California.
The new bill requires restaurants that provide children’s meals that also contain a toy to offer food that contains less sodium, fat and sugar. They also need to make sure that the total number of calories contained in the meal is a decent one.
Moreover, the restaurants need to provide more fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains to make these meals more nutritious.
According to researchers from the NYU Langone Medical Center, such regulation could make a very big difference on the high obesity rates.
They looked at the menus provided by huge fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King. Even if some of these restaurants have started mentioning the number of calories their food contains, the researchers said this does not have an impact on children’s health necessarily.
“We found that kids that were ordering the children’s meals, if the provisions in this bill were met, would save about 54 calories,” which is “almost a 10 percent reduction in calories. “We need to think of a number of policies happening at the same time. This bill could be a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Brian Elbel from NYU Langone Medical Center.
The new bill aims to have fast food restaurants to provide meals that contain less than 500 calories, fewer than 10 percent calories from saturated fats, less than 600 milligrams of sodium, less than 35 percent calories from fat and less than 10 percent calories from sugars. In addition to that, the meal needs to contain at least one serving of whole grains, fruit or vegetables.
The new bill is expected to have positive impact on children’s health. Right now, the CDC reports that almost 20 percent of the kids living in the United States are obese. In New York, almost 50 percent of the children are either obese or overweight.