15 May 2004

When Will Our Own McDo Follow?

Perhaps innervated by health advocates' repeated pleas about its contribution to the obesity epidemic, McDonalds has recently planned removing the French Fries in its menu and last Tuesday introduced an "adult Happy meal." Priced at $5.99, the new Adult Happy Meal will have you selecting from a choice of salads that aren't really new to the American menu - Caesar, cobb, bacon ranch or fiesta - served with Paul Newman's Own dressings (Paul Newman is McDonalds endorser of these adult happy meals) and, just like a child-size Happy Meal, a toy. Well, not really a toy if you think healthy. The adult happy meal comes with a Stepometer, or a pedometer --- a contraption that will (hopefully) encourage you to take long walks and record it.

Go here for McDonalds press release of their new Adult Happy Meals.

It seems when you apply the right pressure, these fastfood guys feel the heat, and are sensitive enough to reform and improve their menu. I thought the fastfoods' shamelessness will just go on and on what with their brazen targeting of children via larded-up school breakfats, errr, breakfasts and lunches, and producing a future generation of premature pre-diabetics, diabetics, cardiac and stroke patients.

Have you seen the film "Super Size Me?" Made by Morgan Spurlock as his debut film documentary, it explored the impact of fast food and obesity on Americans. In the documentary, Spurlock (the director and main actor) decided to eat only McDonalds food for an entire month, 3 meals per day, and documented the gradual girth increase in his body. In his movie, he also talks with an array of people, from former Secretary General David Satcher to a man who eats Big Macs every single day. Spurlock got the idea for his film on Thanksgiving Day 2002, when he learned about two women who were suing McDonalds for their own obesity. Crazy, huh? But the idea moved him to document his own one month food binging (breakfast, lunch, dinner) at McDonalds and test if there is really a relationship between McDonalds and obesity. Check out his website by clicking here.

What is lamentable is that the local McDonalds here in Manila and the Philippines continue serving French Fries, sugar-rich Sunday cones and dips, and of course, fat-laden burgers and chicken. They even have a new picture of their French Fries, promoting it lavishly and sits unperturbed by the ignorance of the Filipino consumer. The local McDonalds continues to be a land of fat and sugar. What makes it happy is no one here is complaining. Ronald McDonald continues to be happy with his purse growing and unmindful of the growing numbers of obese Filipinos.

CNN says that McDonald's, which operates more than 30,000 hamburger restaurants worldwide, has experienced a somewhat turbulent year so far. Its new CEO, Charlie Bell, who replaced Jim Cantalupo after his sudden death of a heart attack, underwent surgery last week for colorectal cancer. Seems to me like their karma is turning up against them.

"The salads are a step in the right direction," Spurlock said. But he reminded diners that with the dressing, it has more calories than a Big Mac sandwich.

I agree with Spurlock. But he would weep if he knew of our situation here in the Philippines.

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