In efforts to become more health-conscious — and continue to be socially and economically relevant during a time of alarming rates of childhood obesity — McDonald’s has decided to stop marketing sugary sodas with the Happy Meal. This decision means that all advertisements and displays for McDonald’s will not include soda with their meal designed to appeal to kids. The company will now advertise low-fat milk, water, and juice as available beverage choices.
In a partnership with The Alliance for a Healthy Generation, former President Clinton and McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson announced several more upcoming changes to the McDonald’s menu that are aimed at promoting more balanced meals. For one, all customers will be able to substitute their fries with a side salad, fruit, or vegetable option. Also, all child-directed advertisement and packaging will promote the fun of well-being, nutrition, and healthy fruits and veggies, rather than cementing the tastiness of greasy, fatty, or sugary foods. With soda and fast food being leading causes of obesity in the US, the fast food giant’s step towards healthier options may cause a ripple of healthy changes in fast food restaurants across the nation.
“If we want to curb the catastrophic economic and health implications of obesity across the world, we need more companies to follow McDonald‘s lead and to step up to the plate and make meaningful changes. I applaud them for doing it.“ -President Bill Clinton
Of course, if the customer asks for soda with their Happy Meal, well, the customer is always right. And, yes, it is still McDonald’s, the company with an unfathomable number of ingredients in their french fries. But this marks a small step in a healthier direction for global fast food chains, and a small step towards addressing the country’s obesity epidemic. Perhaps, some years down the line, fast food will be more McNutritious — but these companies still have a long ways to go.