An effort in San Francisco to make fast-food meals marketed to children healthier passed a key vote Monday.
A committee of the Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to a law that would prohibit fast-food restaurants from packaging toys with children's meals, unless those meals also include fruits and vegetables and limit calories, fat, sugar and salt.
A committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 Monday to pass the proposed ordinance on to the full board, where's it's expected to be considered Oct. 19.
Under Supervisor Eric Mar's proposal, McDonald's and other restaurants could only include toys in meals that have a half-cup each of fruit and vegetables and limited amounts of sugar, sodium and fat.
At Monday's Land Use and Economic Development Committee meeting, Mar called his measure "a modest step forward" to address "an obesity epidemic in San Francisco and throughout this country," CBS Station KPIX reports.
According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity among American youth has increased dramatically between 1976-80 and 2007-08, with 16.9 percent of Americans ages 2-19 year classified as obese. In 2008 10.4% of preschoolers (ages 2-5) were obese; among 6-11 year old, almost one in five (19.6%) were obese.
Santa Clara County supervisors adopted a similar law in April.
Even if the measure passes the Board, it faces a possible veto from Mayor Gavin Newsom.
A spokesman for the mayor told KPIX that Newsom is concerned about "dictating how a private restaurant wants to market its food, some of which includes healthy choices already."
The debate has played out as a matter of personal and parental responsibility versus corporate accountability and children's health.