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Despite the new look for McDonald’s Happy Meals starting in Sept in the U.S. critics say McDonald’s can still do more.
The golden arches will be offering a healthier option for their Happy Meals. But the University of Minnesota’s Simone French believes McDonald is missing a bigger chance to help children’s health. French believe McDonald should get rid of the soda.
The kids’ meals will be adding 1/4 cup of apples to their meals in addition to serving a smaller portion of french fries.
This change with cut 130 calories from the current Happy Meal. -The new Happy Meal with four pieces of McNuggets, apple slices, smaller French Fries and 1% milk will have 410 calories, 19 grams of fat and 560 milligrams of sodium.
French is an expert on marketing and societal influences that affect eating behaviors and is studying how to improve the diets and habits of low-income Minnesota families. These families are particularly affected by fast food practices, she said, because those restaurants offer food they can afford.
“What you could do is not even offer a sugar-sweetened beverage in a kids’ meal,” she said to Star Tribune. “If parents want it, they should have to order it separately off the menu.
Childhood obesity has become a growing problem in the U.S. and health advocates have pointed fingers at McDonalds for contributing to the problem. But McDonald’s is taking steps to change that, “by adding fruit in every Happy Meal, McDonald’s hopes to address a challenge children face in meeting the recommended daily consumption of produce,” according to the corporation’s statement.
The changes follow first lady Michelle Obama’s public health campaign to prevent childhood obesity. The first lady says she commends the progress McDonalds is making by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals, “I’ve always said that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity,” Michelle Obama in a statement.
“McDonald’s is taking steps in the right direction, but we should be careful in heaping praise on corporations for simply reducing the scope of the problem they continue to create,” said Kelle Louaillier, executive director of Corporate Accountability International to CNN Health. “Ultimately corporate responsibility is not about securing public relations for cleaning up your own mess, but for not creating the problem in the first place. In this case, that means stopping the marketing of junk food to kids.”
The suggested retail price of the Happy Meal will not change, remaining between $2.99 and $3.49.
“McDonald’s has been engaging suppliers, government and non-government organizations to determine ways it could play a role in helping society address today’s obesity concerns,” the company’s press release said. “McDonald’s will develop additional fruit and vegetable choices and expects them to roll out over the next few years.”