New York City lawmakers are considering a ban on fast-food kids meal toys, thanks in large part to a super-sized bureaucrat who doesn’t want kids to grow up to be just like him: a self-proclaimed “fast-food aficionado” who knows the merits of personal responsibility and healthy eating, but thinks it’s the city’s job to butt in.
City Councilman Leroy Comrie, Jr. is convinced that kids in the Big Apple are helpless to avoid his unhealthy fate unless fast food marketing campaigns stop magically luring them and their powerless parents into restaurants with cheap plastic trinkets. Of course, it’s hard to see how this directly fights obesity. As we’ve said about similar bans in San Francisco and Santa Clara County, ;it’s not as if your 6-year-old drives himself to buy a kids meal.
In essence, Comrie’s proposed measure is a slap in the face to parents. He considers all parents unable to responsibly buy food for their kids, deploying the poor excuse that he’s incapable of doing it himself:
I’m the typical parent with no time and limited options, so you’re grabbing whatever is going to make your child happy.
We don’t doubt for a moment that many parents have so many schedules to juggle (between their own jobs and their kids’ activities) that it’s hard to prepare home-cooked meals every night. But it’s ultimately the responsibility of parents—not nanny-state bureaucrats—to make healthy choices for their kids.
Fast food meals and carry-out dinners are fine once in a while and in moderation, but banning kids meal toys is not what will ultimately change the way families eat or what they consume.
Councilman Comrie’s efforts would be better spent educating adults about how to make time to integrate a balance of healthy food and exercise into their children’s daily routines. And, as he notes, it’s important for parents to practice what they preach so their examples and lessons stick with their kids for life.
Toy-banning agendas, like the toys themselves, are cheap gimmicks: They may provide a few moments of pleasure, but they’re soon abandoned or forgotten.