McDonald's argued at the time that it should be parents' "right and responsibility -- not the government's -- to choose what's right for their children."

"There are many causes of childhood obesity, including genetic and lifestyle ones," wrote MSNBC columnist and registered dietician Elisa Zied in November, adding that it "takes more than just axing fast foods" to convince children of the benefits of healthy eating patterns. Zied wrote that she was concerned that "ostracizing fatty meals that come with plastic promotional toys could have the unintended consequence of making the product even more appealing."

Others worried about a "nanny state" takeover.

"If government can ban toys from Happy Meals, what else can it do for our own good?" asked AOL News' Bernie Goldberg rhetorically last fall. "Can politicians pass laws that actually require us to eat fruit and vegetables every day? Can they tax Ding Dongs to the point where nobody but Bill Gates can afford to buy them?"

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

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