The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) has sued McDonald’s over their Happy Meals. The complaint argues that Happy Meals are "unhealthy" and cause obesity, that its marketing is "unfair" because it makes six year old lead plaintiff Maya pester her mother with her "clamor for Happy Meals" and that McDonald’s seeks by way of its Happy Meals, like James Dean before it, "to subvert parental authority".
There is much in the complaint to blog about. Far too much actually given that I’ve got a brief due in the Texas Supreme Court by Friday. For now though consider the claim that Happy Meals provide too many calories for the typical, which is to say sedentary, child. When and how did the typical child get to be sedentary and so at risk of obesity? I’d argue that it has everything to do with turning schools into warehouses for children.
Want some evidence that even moderate exercise protects children from overeating or too much TV/video-gaming? See "Health Status and Behavior Among Middle-School Children in a Midwest Community: What are the Underpinnings of Childhood Obesity?" See also "The Fat-Mass and Obesity-Associated (FTO) Gene, Physical Activity, and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Events in White Women". Apparently the "fat gene" only causes problems when combined with inactivity.
All in all it looks like the solution to childhood obesity is more about revving up the body’s engine than starving it of fuel.