Dr. Salerno Weighs in On Not So Happy Meal Ban in San Francisco

Happy Meal Ban

November 3, 2010 CW11 -WPIX called on Dr. Salerno at the 10  0’clock evening noon hour, to offer his medical opinion on the controversial law passed by a major U.S. city, San Francisco, to crack down on the popular practice of giving away free toys with unhealthy restaurant meals for children.

Dr. Salerno pointed out, “Children’s food choice has become all our business. We have a crisis now. We’re seeing children as young as 12 with type 2 diabetes. This is so new, in the last 15 years, that it isn’t even covered in the medical textbooks. We have to take this seriously.”

The show host, Jodie Applegate, along with Laurie Dhue and attorney Midwin Charles had differing opinions. Attorney Charles said, “It comes in an interesting point. We’re more aware now. We see the ban of sugary sodas. See Michelle Obama’s main thing is childhood obesity, the movie, Food Inc, and television’s popular show, “Biggest Loser”. But it’s a slippery slope to begin passing laws.”

Dr. Salerno answered Dhue’s question can food be evil?

“Yes. Food can be evil. Hi caloric, high salt, and high transfats create problems for children that will follow them into adulthood. We will pay for it. It forebodes what happened to cigarettes. We have to take responsibility for our health.”

While Dhue concluded that the law was “much ado about nothing”, Dr. Salerno stuck to his guns.  “We have to take care of our children.”

Following the lead of nearby Santa Clara County, San Francisco’s new law allows toys to be given away only with kids meals that have fewer than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar.

Backers of the ordinance say it aims to promote healthy eating habits while combating childhood obesity.

Dr. Salerno says that its “never too early to establish healthy eating habits. In my book, the Silver Cloud Diet, (, I propose a healthy balance of 9 fruits and vegetables a day (more than many vegetarians actually eat) balanced by appropriate portions of animal protein and healthy natural fats. These are particularly important for growing children who need fat for brain and cell development, as well as a generous amount of protein for bone and muscle development.

It is my firm belief that positions such as those taken by San Francisco are important for the health of our nation and for our children’s future.