Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 08, 2010

California city aims at Happy Meals in nutrition push: 'Food cops' or health defenders?

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See if you can find a recent restaurant review, recipe or any type of food-related item. Are nutritional balance or healthfulness addressed?
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Look for diet or health news, including coverage of fitness activities in your area.
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Pick an ad for a restaurant, grocer or snack and discuss whether words and images promote sensible eating.

Health experts, schools, parents and even First Lady Michelle Obama are working to combat childhood obesity, which means being seriously overweight and is pronounced oh-BEE-city. Now San Francisco has a new approach: Its leaders want to bar fast-food restaurants from enticing children to unhealthy food with toys or other gimmicks.
The city's Board of Supervisors last week voted to limit toy giveaways in Happy Meals and other fast-food combos with excessive calories, sodium and fat. It also requires servings of fruits or vegetables with each meal. The pending law is aimed at about 50 restaurants that use giveaways such as crayons, Captain America figurines or toys promoting popular films.

"I do believe that toys and other incentives attached to foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories are a major reason for the alarming rise for childhood obesity," says Supervisor Eric Mar -- father of a fifth-grade daughter -- who proposed the law. The board, which has enough votes to bypass a threatened mayoral veto, is expected to formally approve the measure in a final reading this Tuesday, Nov. 9. Mar and others hope the measure, first of its kind for a big city, spurs similar standards across the country. "It's courageous of the supervisors to put the health of the city's children above food company profits," comments Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University and author of a book titled "Food Politics."

Critics say the move undercuts business rights and parents' ability to make choices for their families. "Someone doesn't have to travel very far -- a mile outside San Francisco -- to get the traditional McDonald's Happy Meals experience," complains Scott Rodrick, owner-operator of 10 McDonald's restaurants in the city. A California Restaurant Association representative says: "It's insulting to parents and it's more generating headlines than trimming waist lines. There's been absolutely no proof that this will impact the way people eat."

Backer says: "We're part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice." -- Eric Mar, San Francisco board sponsor of the new policy

Critic says: "When George Orwell wrote about government control in his novel 1984, McDonald's hadn't even invented the Happy Meal yet. . . . Supervisor Eric Mar's own words could have come straight from Orwell's pen." -- Luanne Hays, teacher from Red Oak, Texas, guest-blogging in Dallas Morning News

McDonald's says: "Parents tell us it's their right and responsibility -- not the government's -- to make their own decisions and to choose what's right for their children." -- Danya Proud, corporate spokeswoman

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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