Two steps forward, one step back

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Childhood obesity is a huge problem in America, and children in North Carolina are right up there in numbers. In 2011, North Carolina had the 11th-highest ranking for childhood obesity in America.

Solving the problem is prompting some changes on menus for nationwide fast-food chains. This week, Taco Bell announced it would no longer be serving kids meals at some locations this month, and plan to stop serving “toy and food” combos across the board by next year. Though Taco Bell representatives said removing the combos would have an “insignificant impact on sales,” many advocates for healthful eating are cheering the decision — the restaurant is the first national chain to rid its menus of toys that encourage children to beg parents to buy the toys, along with a high-calorie meal.

Where Taco Bell goes, perhaps the McDonalds, Hardees, Burger Kings of the world will follow.

While Taco Bell should be congratulated for leading the fast-food pack, there’s another concern: kids meals might be high calorie, but they also have smaller portions. With kids meals no longer a menu option, will that now mean children will be ordering adult-sized meals?

Getting rid of the toy to sweeten the deal is a good plan. Upping portion size for nation already struggling with childhood obesity may be something fast food chains need to rethink.

Taking two steps forward, one step back is not a healthful form of exercise.