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Should McDonald's Happy Meals be Banned?

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Santa Clara County, California is planning to ban the sale of toys and other promotions with McDonald's (MCD) Happy Meals. Is this ban a major benefit to society?

The slap to Ronald McDonald's face comes at a very interesting time in American pop culture. Schools are banning soda, The Biggest Loser is helping curb the obesity epidemic, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is attempting to stop schools from feeding our children garbage for lunch, Food Inc. is educating us about how our food is made, organics are the fastest growing segment of the food industry, and farmer's markets are staging a major come back.

Given that obesity is leading to insanely skyrocketing health care costs which are draining our economy, disabling prospective workers, and causing a major crisis for our tribe, it seems we should examine why children need to be bribed with toys to eat food which causes diseases.

As the father of a 9 1/2-month-old, I prefer to have a level playing field when taking the time to teach my children how to eat healthy. If Ronald is giving toys with his meals, I have to work that much harder to get my children to eat what is best for their self-interest (which is also best for our economy and society). Personally, I am sick of having to compete with the lowest common denominator when it comes to creating a healthy environment for my family.

Children don't have a mature sense of social reality. They don't understand the difference between Ronald McDonald, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny. Obviously, they are going to prefer fake food engineered to create addiction ... and a shiny new toy. That's why we are the parents: so we can guide them to make decisions which will benefit them over the long run.

I don't feel bad for kids because they suddenly don't get a toy with their Happy Meal. They are bombarded with plenty of other opportunities to get toys outside meal time. Rather, I am glad to see that we are making the right baby steps toward creating a genuine Happy Meal: a healthy serving of food which makes children feel great and does not require a sleezy bribe.

Do you think companies should be banned from bribing children to consume garbage? Let us know in the comments below ...