The McDonald’s Brouhaha

A Sacramento mom brings a lawsuit against McDonald's for its Happy Meal marketing

So what do you think of the McDonald’s brouhaha? I’m not sure what side I stand on. On the one hand, I can’t imagine that anyone thinks that taking their kids to McDonald’s is healthy – even with the milk and apple dippers. Really. How many apples and milk servings go into those Happy Meals as opposed to French fries and sugary sodas?

But parents do, after all, have the primary responsibility for what goes into their kids’ mouths. I have yet to see a 5-year-old drive himself to the local McDonald’s.

On the other hand, parents are constantly fighting the hard fight against corporations marketing directly to their children. It isn’t easy to be the bad guy to your kids, is it? When McDonald’s is dangling the latest Disney movie toy in front of your kids every day, resistance can be difficult. And the McDonald’s marketing machine does an outstanding job. How many kids don’t know about McDonald’s Happy Meals? Even if your kids don’t watch TV, those young brains absorb and remember something they’ve seen even once.

And what about all the childhood obesity in America? It’s a huge (excuse the pun) problem that is going to stress our health system down the road. McDonald’s meals are cheap, accessible and full of fat, sodium and calories – a nutritional mess of a meal that our kids don’t need. But, boy, do they want them.

So, is it about personal choice and responsibility? Should the mom from Sacramento who filed the class action suit against McDonald’s just chill and worry about her own kids, not everybody else’s kids? Should McDonald’s have the right to entice our children with toys and appealing yet nutritionally poor food, and let parents make the choice?

Or, should McDonald’s be forced to stop using the toys to attract kids? We apparently aren’t doing a very good job as whole in making sure our kids get healthy food and exercise. The constant bombardment of marketing to kids is a little discouraging, to say the least. Hey, corporate America, parents could use a little help out here.

I don’t know. No one is forcing parents to take their kids to McDonald’s, but McDonald’s sure isn’t making parents’ jobs any easier. What do you think?

Categories: Editor’s Blog