• McDonald's Happy Meals

McDonald's Happy Meals (Photo : Reuters)

A New York City politician has proposed a "Healthy Happy Meals" bill based on a similar regulation in California, which would make fast food healthier for children. Kids meals that are bundled with a little toy would have a limit on calories, fat, sodium, and sugar, and include healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, or whole grains. The proposal follows a study of children's meals at restaurant chains such as McDonald's.

Like Us on Facebook

NYC Langone Medical Center conducted a study on kids meals at the fast food giants McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

The study tracked fast food purchases that 358 adults made for 422 children in New York and New Jersey from 2013 to 2014, according to Astro Awani. About one-third of the average 600 calories were from fat, while the average 869 milligrams of salt was over half of the American Heart Association's daily recommended limit.

Researchers discovered that the new NYC law would make a world of change in the fight against childhood obesity. Printing calories on restaurant menus has made little progress.

Dr. Brian Elbel works at NYC Langone Medical Center. He told CBS that the bill could reduce around 54 calories per kiddie meal, a 10 percent caloric reduction.

The fast food bill was introduced in 2011. City council member Ben Kallos resubmitted the legislation in 2014, according to CBS News.

A 2012 Federal Trade Commission report showed that fast food companies spent $714 million in 2009 on advertisements targeting children. That included toy offers and tie-tins with  toy brands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also revealed that one in six children and teens in the United States are obese. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that one-fourth of children's calories are from dining out.  

San Francisco County has already passed a "Healthy Happy Meal" bill, but in 2011 the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that McDonald's found a loophole. It added a small charge for the toys.

McDonald's Happy Meal was launched in June 1979. The idea originated from "Menu Ronald" kids meals in Guatemala, which included a hamburger, small fries, and small sundae.

This video shows some retro Happy Meal toys: