27/12/2010 18:17 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

McDonald's Happy Meals Toys Banned To Fight Obesity

A ban on McDonald's "Happy Meals" which come with toys is set to be introduced in part of California as part of the battle against obesity.

Other fast food meals and snacks which come with toys are also being banned in Santa Clara County, an area of California which includes Silicon Valley.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a quarter of the children in this area, which covers 1.7 million people, are overweight or obese.

County bosses say they are tackling an "obesity epidemic" and toys are encouraging children to eat more high calorie foods which are high in fat and salt.

Ken Yeager, the county supervisor behind the ban, told the Telegraph: "This prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys to peddle high calorie, high fat, high sodium kids' meals. It breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes."

The new law states that food outlets cannot offer toys with meals unless they meet basic standards of nutrition, with a limit of 485 calories per meal.

However Harlan Levy, from McDonald's, which introduced Happy Meals back in 1979, told the Telegraph: "It substitutes the county's judgment for the judgment of parents. It does nothing to address a holistic response to the problem."

He might have a point. I can understand that toys might encourage children to choose one fast food over another - but the parents can always say no...

Is this a case of the nanny state going too far? Or do these toys make it even more difficult for parents to prevent their children stuffing their faces with junk food?

What do you think? Should a similar ban be introduced in Britain?

Source: Daily Telegraph