Happy Meals Still Under Wraps

The most valuable consumers for McDonald’s right now are people who do not carry any money, are not picky about what they eat, and usually end up spitting their food on their clothes. They’re toddlers–and at a time when childhood obesity is on the rise, they’re fueling the fire for administrators and policymakers to target McDonald’s Happy Meals.

My blog Does Accountability Come with my Happy Meal called it:  McDonald’s has been blamed for our child obesity epidemic. If you have bought a Happy Meal recently, you might have noticed the extra bag of Apple Dippers. While you may be passing this off as a way to reel in business, it’s actually the Board of Supervisors exercising their ongoing McDonald’s-bashing plight to ban toys from Happy Meals. Under new provisions, the meal has to comprise of at least a half of cup of fresh fruits or three quarters of a cup of fresh vegetables in order to be able to provide their toy.

While it may seem easier to blame someone else than to take accountability for our actions the fight for childhood obesity starts in the home. If people are not taking the proper precautions for portion size and fat content at home, then how do you expect them to mind their p’s and q’s while eating out? I cannot stand to reason that ignorance somehow gets left out of the picture here. We are responsible for paying our bills and getting into motor vehicles, so why then aren’t we accountable for taking care of our health?

Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, ScD M.P.H and president of the American Council on Science and Health makes two solid points that I want to reiterate that not only show that blaming big companies for shoving food into people’s mouth is outlandish but that people need to start educating themselves on eating a balanced diet and incorporating exercise into their daily lives.

POINT 1: On average, Happy Meals are given to kids by their parents only two or three times a month.

That means that all the other times meals are fed to the child from home or some other establishment.

POINT 2: FACT: When McDonald’s Happy Meals came out in the late 70’s the calorie count was actually 40% higher than it is today.

McDonald’s answers to the call of action by making an effort to promote healthy exercise on their packages and on commercials. McDonald’s have added snack wraps smaller versions of their value meals to their permanent menu. McDonald’s recently added oatmeal with fruit to their menu as a healthy alternative and include a questionnaire with every happy meal.

So while it appears that McDonald’s will be used as an example for the country’s transgressions with obesity and links to food, I can assure you that they are handling themselves with as much dignity as someone in their position could possibly do. Unfortunately, until healthy food becomes popular and people start eating healthier, there is no way to change the current path, and penalizing someone who’s not entirely to blame is just a desperate cry for help.

Once again, I implore you to look within yourselves for guidance and quantify your calories in relation to your portion size and aptitude for exercise.

It’s not McDonald’s fault we aren’t feeding our kids properly.

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