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Fast-food toy ban said beneficial

Dec. 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM   |   Comments

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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A ban on fast-food toys in California hasn't improved meals' nutritional quality but restaurants are at least promoting the right food, researchers say.

Stanford University researchers say following a ban on the toys in Santa Clara Country, area restaurants seem to have stopped promoting their fat- and salt-laden children's meals marketed by means of the free toys, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

While parents can still purchase the toys for a few dollars, posters or other marketing materials in the stores have been removed, and in one restaurant a healthy children's meal is now the only one available with a free toy, researchers said.

"I was happy to see that the restaurants were taking steps in positive and meaningful directions," Jennifer Otten at Stanford's Prevention Research Center said.

"They removed toy marketing posters from the doors, and the posters below the cash register at eye level for children," she said.

"At one particular restaurant, they removed signs of the toy altogether, so if you were a parent purchasing the children's meal, you wouldn't know a toy existed."

The August 2011 Santa Clara County ban was the first in the country.

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