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Fast-food restaurants spent $161 million advertising to children under 12 and an estimated $360 million on toys distributed with their meals in 2006, according to a 2008 Federal Trade Commission report.

Marlene Schwartz, deputy director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, said fast-food advertising aimed at children has increased since self-regulation efforts began.

“They’re only really promoting it halfheartedly,” said Miss Schwartz of healthier food options. San Francisco’s law “is making the restaurants practice what they preach.”

The lure of such items is all too familiar to parents like Carmen Sanchez, who was at a San Francisco McDonald’s on a recent evening and said she sometimes hears children beg for Happy Meals.

“If the babies don’t get what they want, then they won’t stop crying,” Miss Sanchez said.