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School Welcomes Health Expert: Ronald McDonald?

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New Alarms about Obesity

News of the school visit comes on the heels of a report published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that estimates 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030, costing the health-care system an extra $550 billion dollars.

The next day, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released its new report calling for a multi-faceted approach to obesity, including the goal to “Make healthy foods and beverages available everywhere.”

Health professionals not receiving perks from the fast-food industry generally agree McDonald’s is a contributor to the obesity epidemic. Adding a little fruit to a Happy Meal does not change the fat and salt content of most of the chain’s offerings. And sending Ronald McDonald out to peddle health and nutrition puts an undeserved shine on the fast-food purveyor.

Serving the Calories, Fat and Salt

Here are some examples from the McDonald’s Web site:

  • An ordinary hamburger weighs in at a mere 250 calories, 9 g of fat and 490 mg of sodium. Add a slice of cheese, and those numbers change to 300 calories, 12 g of fat and 720 mg of sodium.
  • A Quarter Pounder with cheese serves up 520 calories, 26 g of fat and 1,180 mg of sodium.
  • Most people want at least a small order of fries with that, so add 230 calories, 11 g of fat and 160 mg of sodium to any of the above.
  • A Happy Meal with a cheeseburger delivers 700 calories, 19.5 g of fat and 915 mg of sodium.
  • A strawberry shake totals 570 calories, 17 g of fat and 170 mg of sodium.
  • A snack-size serving of Chicken McBites contributes 310 calories, 19 g of fat and 490 mg of sodium.

The healthy, low-calorie, low-fat, low-salt items are outliers on the McDonald’s lineup. Only a company spokesman like Ronald McDonald would claim they are the stars of the show or even representative of the chain’s standard fare.

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82 comments

+ add your own
2:31PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

wow is all i can say here

8:23AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Mystifying and bizarre, would do well as a science fiction novel or horror movie.

3:28AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

I'm glad that they are making some changes, as listed in the early part of the article. I don't expect our fast food places to 'go healthy'; they know that they would then 'go broke'. But just looking at the stats listed from their website - oy! Not to mention the 'healthy' oatmeal option, mentioned by another author, with a huge sugar content.

8:35PM PDT on May 26, 2012

thank you

1:28AM PDT on May 26, 2012

That's ridiculous!

9:21AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Grazie dell'articolo.

3:23PM PDT on May 14, 2012

Ronald McDonald as a spokesperson for health? Hahah, very funny.

1:44PM PDT on May 14, 2012

I don't even know what to say to that

9:12AM PDT on May 14, 2012

With this statement of "McDonald’s has definitely been making some good moves lately. They are adding fruits and vegetables to Happy Meals. They are discontinuing their use of pink slime. They are phasing out the cruel gestation crates that keep sows penned in tight quarters. They are testing paper cups to replace Styrofoam".

I guess for the so called dogooders that think they know what's best for us more so than we do. I don't think they will ever be truly happy until they can amass enough people to have McDonald's shut down!


9:12AM PDT on May 14, 2012

With this statement of "McDonald’s has definitely been making some good moves lately. They are adding fruits and vegetables to Happy Meals. They are discontinuing their use of pink slime. They are phasing out the cruel gestation crates that keep sows penned in tight quarters. They are testing paper cups to replace Styrofoam".

I guess for the so called dogooders that think they know what's best for us more so than we do. I don't think they will ever be truly happy until they can amass enough people to have McDonald's shut down!


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