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Posted on May 20, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Public health advocates are waging a war, not against McDonald’s or the fast food industry per se, but against a much easier target: Ronald McDonald. Their claim? The happy, friendly clown with the red hair is seducing children to eat McDonald’s Happy Meals and thus is contributing to their rising BMIs.


According to the Star-Tribune “Daddy-O” blog, public health advocates have written a letter to the CEO of McDonald’s to stop marketing their food products to children.

In concert with other moves to ban toys in Happy Meals and other kid’s fast food meals, the public health community is focusing its efforts on just one of many culprits contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic. Is it even the most important one? Maybe not. But it certainly grabs the headlines and hopefully raises parental awareness of about food choices for their children.

Ronald McDonald is unlikely to go the way of the dodo, but putting him on notice is probably a good public health strategy.

Summer McGee, PhD

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