• Paul M December 16, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Is food our next tobacco? The U S Military is now fighting obesity, and I am pretty certain they are quite active. Why have we allowed the media and the food industry to shape the argument about activity and obesity. When have you seen a pro sports figure advertise celery? We have a food environmental crisis , and the time is now to inspire a conversation. Who are all of these big losers? Time for the media to get up off of the couch.

    Thanks Paul 2fat2fly on Twitter

    • Tango W December 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

      McDonalds toys for advertising junk food is very much like cigarettes companies using cartoon characters for advertising. McDs is glamorizing a bad food with something the kids want. Kids can’t/don’t understand the mind game that is being played. I stress greatly that the food is not good – it’s junk food – for my 4 and 5 year olds. They get it but want the toys. It is a serious and honest conversation every time we pass those evil arches. McD doesn’t give a good choice for the main item: chicken nuggets v/s burger (how about the fruit & yogurt?). The cigarette companies had to change their ways. McDonalds needs to change their ways as well. McD’s happy meal toy commercials are played heavily during Saturday morning cartoons – prime time for child manipulation! Parents don’t have much of a chance. Old days – lung cancer. New days – obesity.

      Suggestions: Offer the yogurt/fruit pack instead of nuggets or burger on the meal; banana, small fruit smoothie, yogurt cups. Take the healthier adult foods and adapt it to samller portions for the happy meal. Be creative and Be healthy.

      • admin December 18, 2010 at 8:18 am

        Hi Tango, I totally agree with your suggesting that McDonald’s should offer more a more healthy menu–not that some items on the menu aren’t already heading in that direction: apple dippers, fruit & walnut salad, and an assortment of salads if you don’t slather them w/dressing–but agreed, the majority of the McDonald’s menu is not aimed at preventing clogged arteries. You make some good suggestions about “downsizing” the healthier adult food options, too. Still, I have to ask you the question–clearly you buy Happy Meals for your children–why? My guess is that your 4 and 5 year olds cannot get themselves to a McDonald’s and whip our their wallets, order & pay and return home without your help, right? Look, my kids have had a kid’s meal or two in their lives–but believe me, I make a conscious choice about it. I also make a conscious choice about how much tc they sit in front of on Saturday morning–oh they try, but I say to them: use your brain and get creative–see what else you can do–sometimes the results aren’t pretty, but they find something to do, even if it’s just coloring or building or playing hide & seek. See, I don’t buy fast food because my kids want it. Here’s another example–there’s a local group of moms here from my kids’ school–they used to meet after half-day kindergarten and go to the Burger King “playground” to sit have some coffee and let the kids roam–of course, that meant having a kids meal of some sort and some little toy. I never joined them. They’re nice people, but not only didn’t I want my kids running rampant in a cesspool of germs at the “playground” but I didn’t want my kids on a steady diet of CRAP (or thinking that BK was a place to “hang out”). But that’s MY CHOICE as their parent. See, when I drive by McDonald’s, I don’t need to have a Happy Meal Lawsuit on my side, I have an accelerator in my car and I hit it (ok, not literally, but I sure as heck don’t brake, turn on my directional and say, “ok kids, let’s do drive-thu!”) I need to know what precludes you and other moms and dads from saying “NO”–or “how about we go out for lunch, but let’s pick something that has “smart food” for us to order”; or make a game out of it–heck, stop at a store and let the kids go on a mini scavenger hunt where they have to bring back 3 “healthy” food choices and one has to be a fruit/vegetable, one a drink, and one a main item like soup or yogurt or salad or a turkey deli sandwich or…Oh, I know it’s not easy and it takes a bit more time, but what it’s a matter of what’s important to you as a parent–we all make choices, some easier than others. Here’s another thought–tell the kids you can either have that Happy Meal, or we’ll have something at home and I’ll take you to FiveB Below (or even a dollar store) and let you choose any toy you want–I bet you’ll be out about just the same amount of money with that deal. Look, I can go on and on, but I need to know what it is that makes you think you can’t say “no”? There are ways around hearing the kids cry/whine, and after a few times, you know what? They “get it” and they know Mommy’s not stopping at Mickey D’s….In my estimation, given that parents and consumers have a choice about what they put in their and their children’s bodies (particularly at such young ages), this Happy Meal lawsuit is nothing but frivolous and ridiculous way to try to “drive change” and prevent obesity by not looking at the root cause, taking a hard line and addressing it.

      • Jrod January 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

        "parents don't have much of a chance". Uhhh, they have the choice to say "No" to their kids don't they?? If you can't say no to your kids when they're 5 years old, you're gonna have a much bigger problem on your hands when they are 15 than them being fat!! Jesus people, man up and be a parent!!! Unbelievable.

  • Paul M December 17, 2010 at 4:58 am

    I am calling for a national debate on our big fat issue. Why has the media been unable to report on the crisis? 911 is nothing compared to what the obesity crisis is going to do to our health care system.

    • admin December 17, 2010 at 11:02 am

      Hi Paul, Interesting view re: 911. But, I think there has been a fair amount of reporting on the nation’s obesity issue–and also on child obesity. What I think gets pushed under the carpet because it’s much easier to blame McDonald’s marketing and start a Happy Meal lawsuit is the role of the parent in all this–or, let’s broaden it further to the consumer role in it. People seem to forget that as a parent, you oversee, advice, coach, train–and control–to a very large extent what your children eat–certainly up until the time they hit middle school where the occasional vending machine may be available. I’m not saying there won’t be temptation, but the foundation for healthy eating habits can be started in the first ten or so years of life prior to the time when a child has to employ some ability to make choices on his or her own. Additionally, and I’ll say it again as I did in the post above, companies like McDonald’s cannot sell product if there is no consumer base–ie, consumer demand–to do so. It’s economics 101. If you don’t like what you see, power to the people baby–DON’T BUY IT.

  • Kip H December 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    The silly thing is relating the apparent rise in obesity (much of it due to the lowering of the BMI figure labeled obese) to fast food, snacks, so-called healthy eating, or soft drinks. Major replicated studies have found that the so-called obese (whom we used to call ‘a little chunky’) eat basically the same amount and type of food that skinny people eat and get about the same amount of exercise.

    It is true that the plenitude of inexpensive safe food has led some to over-indulge creating a new, but small, class of truly obese — 5’6″ and 300 lbs (much like my Wisconsin dairy-farmer’s-wife grandmother in the 1950’s) — it is not a disaster nor a national scandal — and certainly has nothing to do with McDonalds or Happy Meal toys.

    If there is an ‘obesity epidemic’ — and that question has not yet been definitively answered — my science background would suggest a search for the causative agent. If it walks like an epidemic and quacks like an epidemic, then maybe it has a cause like an epidemic.

    • admin December 17, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Hi Kip, I tend to agree that the lowering of the BMI standard in 2000 certainly drove a number of folks who were previously "ok" into the upper limits–or out of–their "healthy" or "normal" bmi range. However, is it a case of the health/medical industry making the connection between higher bmi and negative health effects that then drove the bmi standard ranges to be lowered–ie, to prompt folks to be more conscious of the implications of a higher bmi, or is it that they just lowered the bmi range and now we're all running scared? Regardless, I don't think anyone can point the blame at McDonald's or Happy Meals. I don't know about you, but McDonald's has never swooped down and forced a two all beef patty special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame bun down my throat. I've willingly purchased it if I have–and usually as a result of its being the only joint in town on some roadtrip…

  • Steven B December 18, 2010 at 3:54 am

    When are todays parents going to accept responsibility for raising their children? Who has control of what is seen on tv, what is purchased, and what food to eat in a family? Too many times I have witnessed parents caving in to their childs demands. I am sure that I am not the only adult who remembers growing up with rules and boundries. It seems as if children have none of those things anymore. When my parents said no that was it, end of discussion. And if I whinned out something I would be punished.

    Another frivolous lawsuit? I hope that any judge would throw this out of court. Maybe what is needed is a little corporal punishment. Parents are now afraid to apply a little spanking, that it is child abuse. Nothing can be further from the truth. Years ago kids didn't act out as much. Why? What is the common denominator? Fear is an effective deterent and it should be applied again. Stop these frivolous lawsuits and punish you children when it is warranted. Step up to the plate and be parents instead of trying to be a friend to your kid.

    • admin December 19, 2010 at 8:09 am

      Hi Steven, What's interesting is that this whole Happy Meal lawsuit thing isn't even about punishment of children or discipline–the part that I don't understand is that it just comes down to parents saying "no". If I didn't say no to my children, they'd not only be obese, but I'd be bankrupt. I'm all for holding a company acountable for any wrongdoing, fraud, or act of negligence that results in harm or loss. But parents know that Happy Meals may not be the most nutritious dinner selection. It's not a wolf in sheep's clothing–everyone knows it's a wolf. So what should you do? High tail it in the other direction. When you see a wolf and hold your hand out to it, there's a chance you might get bitten. So don't blame the wolf.

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