Sep 03, 2015 07:07 PM EDT
Fast food meals can attract kids, especially when the deal includes some toys. According to a new study, kids' meals can become healthier if the fast food meals including toys will be regulated.
A new policy in New York City was proposed in order to regulate fast food meals that come with toys for lower sodium, fat and calories content. According to senior author Marie Bragg, of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, this kind of policies can push families to healthier behaviors.
The proposed policy introduced to the New York City Council requires that fast food meals that come with a small toy should include a serving of vegetable, fruit, or whole grain. The regulation would also limit fast food meals with toys to less than 500 calories and it would place additional restrictions on salt and fat.
The New York city council has proposed the "Healthy Happy Meals" bill in order to make fast food choices for kids healthier. The bill is inspired by a similar ordinance in California. The fast food restaurant serving special kids meals with a toy will have to respect the special requirements under the bill.
In order to estimate the effects of the proposal, researchers studied food purchases patterns of 358 adults buying fast food meals for 422 children at Burger King, Wendy's and McDonald's restaurants in New Jersey and New York City, between 2013 and 2014.
According to researchers, the average age of the children in the study was seven years old. The findings were reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. According to the research paper, the adults purchased an average of 600 calories of food for each child. A third of those calories were coming from fat and with an average of 869 mg of salt the meals contained more than half the total daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association.
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center studying the kids meals concluded that the legislation would make a noticeable difference in fighting childhood obesity and that posting calories on menus alone has not provided enough improvement.
According to Dr. Brian Elbel of NYU Langone Medical Center, by ordering the children's meals under the provisions of this bill would be achieved almost a 10 percent reduction in calories.
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