6 Nov 2010

Govt urged to ban toys given with unhealthy meals

10:13 pm on 6 November 2010

Naturopaths are calling on the Government to follow the lead of state authorities in the United States and ban fast-food companies from giving toys away with unhealthy meals.

San Francisco is about to pass laws requiring restaurant meals for children to meet strict nutritional standards before they can be sold with toys.

If the law takes affect, toys will only be given away with meals that have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar.

Fight the Obesity Epidemic spokesperson, Robyn Toomath, says the proposed law would be more effective than offering healthy choices, like fresh fruit and water, which don't have an explicit reward system.

McDonald's says a number of its Happy Meals in this country do meet the calorie, sodium, sugar and fat criteria required under the proposed law.

New Zealand Society of Naturopaths spokesperson, Jaine Kirtley says unscrupulous marketing encourages children to choose foods, which put them at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer in later life.

About one in 10 New Zealand children aged five to 14 are obese, and a further 20 percent are overweight.

Mrs Kirtley says it's not fair to blame children and their parents for making poor choices when they are being bombarded with millions of dollars advertising.