McDonald’s Touts Healthier Fare, Receives Praise From HHS Secretary Thompson
At a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, officials for McDonald's highlighted several recent efforts by the fast food chain to combat obesity and "alter the widely held view that McDonald's sells junk food and only junk food," the Wall Street Journal reports. At the conference, which was attended by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, company officials said the chain had eliminated the "super-size" option from its domestic menus; is using leaner meat in its chicken McNuggets; and is introducing the "Go Active! Adult Happy Meal," which includes a salad, bottled water, a pedometer and a brochure explaining the benefits of walking. McDonald's also is planning an exercise and diet marketing campaign and will soon begin to offer apple slices with low-fat caramel dipping sauce as an alternative to French fries in children's Happy Meals (Gray, Wall Street Journal, 4/16). Thompson, who has urged food companies to offer healthier menu choices, said McDonald's efforts were a "step in the right direction," adding that "today's good news demonstrates that our message is resonating in boardrooms throughout the food industry." However, Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said, "The company's small steps seem more designed to forestall the big steps that government should be taking to prevent obesity and heart disease" (Higgins, Washington Times, 4/16). NPR's "Morning Edition" on Friday reported on the McDonald's announcement. The segment includes comments from Ken Barun, McDonald's vice president for global balanced lifestyles (Edwards, "Morning Edition," NPR, 4/16). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. PBS' "Nightly Business Report" on Thursday included an interview with McDonald's USA President Michael Roberts on the announcement. The segment also includes comments from Thompson (Woods, "Nightly Business Report," PBS, 4/15). The complete transcript is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.