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Strategic Alliance Legislative Action Alert
April 30, 2010
Santa Clara County Restricts Toys in Unhealthy Kids' Meals
On Tuesday, April 27, by a 3-2 vote, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance which sets nutritional standards for restaurant food that comes with toys or other incentive items. Introduced by Supervisor Ken Yeager, the landmark ordinance bans the inclusion of toys in restaurant meals containing high amounts of sugar, salt, or certain fats. The proposed restrictions would apply to approximately 50 restaurants in Santa Clara County, and the intent is that the policy in this one locale will catch on statewide and nationally. Said Supervisor Yeager, "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes. Under this ordinance, restaurants are still permitted to give out toys. This ordinance merely imposes very specific, common-sense nutrition standards for children's meals that are linked to these incentives." The ordinance requires a second reading before being implemented. This reading will occur during the May 11th Santa Clara Board of Supervisor's meeting; after a 90 day grace period for local restaurants, the ordinance becomes law. We urge you to show your support now for this important ordinance.
Strategic Alliance and Public Health Institute strongly support this positive step toward reducing the impact of irresponsible fast food marketing and use of promotional materials. Research amplifies the significance of this new ordinance. A 2008 report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 93% of kids' meals at popular chain restaurants are high in calories, 45% are high in fat, and 86% are high in sodium. Incentivizing these unhealthy meals with toys is unconscionable in light of rising rates of chronic illness, obesity, and diabetes in our youth.1. Write a letter to the editor.
Food and beverage companies spend billions of dollars every year marketing unhealthy products with campaigns that disproportionately target children. Over the past several days, we have already seen the response from the opposition, such as the California Restaurant Association. The industry group has taken out full-page newspaper advertisements against the proposed ordinance in local newspapers, one of which shows a little girl with her hands cuffed behind her back as she holds a stuffed animal.
Will you write a letter to your local paper to help counter their messages? We've made it easy with talking points, contact info and a submission form. Tell them policies like Santa Clara's toy restrictions protect consumers by giving families more healthy options, rather than having their decisions made for them by big corporations who ultimately have their profits-not our health-at stake.
Sponsor Supervisor Ken Yeager, along with Supervisor Liz Kniss and Supervisor Dave Corteste all voted yes in support of ordinance NS-300.820. We need their yes votes again on May 11th for this to pass. We wrote a sample letter and have all their contact info. Click here to send them an email to thank them for their leadership and ask for their continued support.
Focusing on individual responsibility alone will not stem the barrage of food and beverage marketing targeting youth nor will it change food environments that put their health at risk. Policies implemented locally are an important strategy to decrease unhealthy food marketing and restrict practices that harm children.
Want to learn more about the Santa Clara ordinance? View the policy language of this groundbreaking policy change in the ENACT Local Policy Database.
The Strategic Alliance is reframing the debate on nutrition and physical activity away from a focus solely on individual choice and lifestyle towards one of environmental influences and corporate and government responsibility. Current Steering Committee members are: California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness Program (CANFit), California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) , California Project LEAN, California WIC Association (CWA), Child Care Food Program Roundtable, Latino Health Access, Partnership for the Public's Health, PolicyLink, Prevention Institute, Samuels & Associates, and Public Health Law and Policy.
WHAT IS THE PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTE?The Public Health Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health throughout California, the nation and around the world through policy change, research and evaluation, training and technical assistance. Visit them at www.phi.org
HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER OF STRATEGIC ALLIANCE
The Strategic Alliance is currently engaged in building a broad and diverse statewide membership. To join or for more information, please visit us on the Web, www.eatbettermovemore.org, or contact Shakirah Simley at 510.444.7738 or Shakirah@preventioninstitute.org. And even if you're already a member, please forward this message on to your colleagues so we can continue to strengthen our coalition. Thank you!
The Strategic Alliance is reframing the debate on nutrition and
physical activity - from a focus solely on individual choice and lifestyle,
towards one of environmental influences and corporate and government responsibility.