As usual, government knows best

Ah California, where the sun shines nearly all the time and life is absolutely perfect. Except for the obese people in Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley, who are ruining paradise. But the ever sharp officials are determined to remove this horrible blot on their little corner of heaven. Sharon Bernstein of the Los Angeles Times describestheir brave effort.

Convinced that Happy Meals and other food promotions aimed at children could make kids fat as well as happy, county officials in Silicon Valley are poised to outlaw the little toys that often come with high-calorie offerings.

The proposed ban is the latest in a growing string of efforts to change the types of foods aimed at youngsters and the way they are cooked and sold. Across the nation, cities, states and school boards have taken aim at excessive sugar, salt and certain types of fats.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, the proposal would forbid the inclusion of a toy in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt or high amounts of sugar or fat. In the case of McDonald's, the limits would include all of the chain's Happy Meals - even those that include apple sticks instead of French fries.

Supporters say the ban would encourage restaurants to offer more-nutritious foods to kids and would make unhealthful items less appealing.

Foreshadowing another aspect of government run and dispensed goodies, county officials justify their nanny state interference into personal, private decisions with a rationale that is sure to be used in the future.

County Supervisor

Yeager knows that even if the board passes his proposal, its effect would be small. Even so, he says, it's worth it.

"We're responsible for paying for healthcare in the whole county," Yeager said. "We pay close to $2 billion annually on healthcare, and the costs have done nothing but rise." A big part of the increase, he said, is costs related to obesity.

And now that this measure has passed, effective in the county's unincorporated areas, government approved healthy and beautiful people will once again flit through the county. And if kids like the toys, even though they're not obese, well...what do they know? Soon they will be, blighting Santa Clara County. And government officials can't have that. Be forewarned--you will be banished by the health police!

Remember, government knows best.