Is McDonald’s to blame for making our kids fat? Here’s your chance to weigh in (No Scale Required).

Everyone knows that fast food chain restaurants aren’t winning any awards for being nutritionally responsible. But one public interest group is taking it a step further and claiming that McDonald’s is guilty of “predatory marketing” using their Happy Meal toys to entice children to eat food that makes them fat. Huh?

It’s no secret that a large population of our country is considered overweight or obese. But whose responsibility is it to watch what we put into our mouths? Or, more importantly, our children’s mouths? In New Hampshire, 33 percent of third-graders are overweight or obese, according to a recent state Department of Health and Human Services survey. Third graders! Last time I checked, you needed to be 16 to drive through a McDonald’s take out window.

Where does the finger pointing begin…and end? Is it the parents’ fault? Is the fast food industry to blame? Should we start picketing advertising agencies for using G.I. Joe on gummie snack packaging? What about public schools lunch programs? What are your thoughts? Do you think the food industry has a heavy hand in negatively contributing to our weight and overall health?

FYI: A Happy Meal comprised of a cheeseburger, French fries, and Sprite has 640 calories, 940 milligrams of sodium, and 35 grams of sugar. Those figures are half, three-fourths, and twice the recommended daily amounts, respectively, for children aged 4-8. Over the last several years, McDonald’s introduced healthier Happy Meal options like apple slices instead of French fries and apple juice instead of soda.

My family’s solution? When we do go to McDonald’s, we dine off of the $1 Menu. I order (1) package of apple slices, (1) milk, (1) grilled chicken snack wrap and (1) Happy Meal toy for each child and everyone, including mom, feels good about it.

3 Responses

  1. Christine M.

    As much as I’d like to sue Good Humor for playing that horrendous and child-hypnotizing ice cream truck music when it circles my neighborhood THREE times a night, it’s still my decision if my children chase after it with their $3 for a frozen treat that contains nothing but sugar.

  2. No one is forced to eat at McDonalds. Parents or caregivers are completely responsible. If we stop eating at McDonalds maybe they will change. In this world there will always be temptations. Parents need to teach their kids how to say “NO”. They also should be teaching their kids about food and good eating habits. Suing McDonalds won’t help kids at all but it will help a lot of lawyers.

  3. Mom of 2

    Parents control what their little ones eat and what marketing they are exposed to. Period. I’m sure the game will change once my kids enter the school system with the inevitalbe outside influences, but on my watch, I will never, ever bring my children into a McDonald’s. (And in reference to the post about the ice cream truck, amen. We told our kids that the ice cream truck is the garbage truck so they don’t chase after it – but not sure how long that will actually last). No more harmful than teaching them about the lie known as Santa Claus, right? In the end, parents need to accept that the responsibility lies with them to teach their kids to make proper food choices, and until they can do this on their own, the parents need to be making the proper food choices FOR their children.

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