Fast-Food-Toy Ban Could Be Very Effective

The toy is the most important part of any Happy Meal.
The toy is the most important part of any Happy Meal.Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

New York City councilmember Ben Kallos recently introduced legislation to ban fast-food toys that accompany unhealthy kids’ meals, and our friends over at the Science of Us asked a marketing professor if it’s an effective strategy to combat obesity. As it turns out, if a healthy meal comes with a toy, and the unhealthy meal does not, kids will actually choose the carrots or apples or grilled chicken over fast food — as long as there’s a Barbie or a bobblehead on the side. If both meals come with toys, they’re equally as likely to be chosen, so Kallos’s restriction could be beneficial. The catch is that simply because kids choose the healthy-meal-and-toy combination, it doesn’t mean they’ll actually put the broccoli into their mouths. [Earlier, Science of Us]