Monsters Inc., toy; picture by Llaboo

When you go to a fast food restaurant, do you really think your kid is more interested in the greasy burger than the toy?

I know what my kids are looking for and the food is just an added benefit. At some point I made the rule that food must be eaten before the toy would even be opened.

A few months back the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington D.C. consumer group, threatened to sue McDonald’s in order to make them stop putting toys in the Happy Meals. Now the city of San Francisco wants to get in the act by banning the toys in kids meals unless the meal meets more stringent nutritional and sodium levels.

I know that childhood obesity is a problem. And I know people are looking for solutions all over the place. But let me ask this. Was anyone paying attention to home economic classes when they were talking abut the food pyramid? All those years that Richard Simmons was telling us to exercise to the oldies, did anyone get up and do it?

When McDonald’s started offering apple dippers and different drinks other than soda, was I the only one paying attention? I have often made laundry list orders that had chicken nuggets, apple slices and apple juice as our choice. Chocolate milk as a choice? Great! My daughter, who is not a fan of soda, was very relieved that now her choices included milk or apple juice or lemonade.

Are we getting to the point that we have to regulate everything? There are people who eat nothing but fast food. But does that mean the rest of us have to be penalized? We are not able to outlaw stupidity so we need to force regulate good food choices instead?

All this because people have forgotten that if you want to eat meals that have the required caloric amount of a whole day at one setting you must get up and exercise. You must get away from the TV or game boy or computer and move.

Here is an idea. Let’s ban TVs and nintendo and gameboys. Add on home computers and blackberries. Regulate that people have to move at least one hour a day, every day. Lets put timers on these devices and when a person has spent an hour at one setting, the device will automatically shut-down – forcing that person to move on to something else. An alarm will sound until they go outside and move around a bit.

That’s right, force people to exercise. Force people to get off their butts and move. While we are at it, let’s make a law that parking at shopping malls must be at least a quarter of a mile from the closest doors. That way people will walk at least a half a mile whenever they go to the mall.

Picture by Cohdra

Then let’s remove escalators, moving sidewalks and elevators. Let’s do whatever it takes to get people healthier and those are some simple fixes. Just like when McDonald’s stopped using lard to fry those French fries because vegetable oil was supposed to be healthier for us.

How’s that working out?