FoodChallenge Corporate Abuse of Our Food
Countering Fast Food's Health Effects
Tired of McDonald's marketing its junk food to our kids?
Fast food is a driving force behind the global epidemic of diet-related diseases, setting our kids up for a lifetime of health problems. Nearly one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime because of diet. And this number rises significantly for children in communities of color.
The negative effects of fast food on our health include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Liver disease
Kid-focused marketing fuels illness
A growing body of scientific evidence shows reducing junk food marketing to kids could reduce the rates of diet-related conditions such as childhood diabetes, sparing the health of millions of children.
To that end, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended a national policy prohibiting junk food marketing to kids. And high-profile organizations like the World Health Organization have recognized the links between fast food marketing and our children’s failing health, recommending governments implement tighter regulations on fast food advertising to kids.
Simply put, the less kids are exposed to fast food marketing, the healthier they will be -- in childhood and in adulthood.
So we’re leading the call to protect our children’s health. We demand the industry’s most aggressive marketer to children, McDonald’s, end the marketing practices it uses to build kids' lifelong brand loyalty -- including targeting kids online and promoting its iconic clown.
Hey McDonald's! Quit targeting our kids
Parents are fed up with McDonald's efforts to shape their children's eating habits. They simply cannot compete with McDonald's enormous marketing might, designed to undermine their authority at every turn. That's why tens of thousands of moms, dads, and caregivers have joined with us to stand up to the burger giant so they can make healthy choices for their kids.
- To date, more than 10,000 people around the country have called on McDonald's to retire Ronald and to shut down HappyMeal.com, the burger giant's most insidious marketing tool to kids.
- A wide and powerful network of moms is blogging and hosting twitter parties to advance the campaign message online. They've made #MomsNotLovinIt go viral, reaching millions!
What's wrong with this picture? In children's hospitals, clinics, and doctor's offices across the country, kids are being treated for diet-related conditions like diabetes on one floor and offered the world's most-recognized junk food brand on the next.
Health professionals have a critical role to play in compelling the fast food industry to change its harmful practices. Thousands have already taken a stand with us:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended a national policy prohibiting junk food marketing to kids.
- More than 3,000 institutions and health professionals have signed an open letter to McDonald’s CEO, calling on the burger giant to end its kid-focused marketing.
- Hospitals are heeding our call to end their contracts with McDonald's and create a more healthful food environment for the children they serve. Truman Medical Centers in Kansas, MO and Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, IA are the latest health institutions to sever ties with the fast food leader.
In the food swamps of low-income communities and communities of color, it's hard to escape McDonald's insidious presence. McDonald's franchises have crowded out local grocery stores, flooding communities with its junk food offerings, while sitting billboards and targeted websites like 365Black.com and MeEncanta.com are designed to hook black and Latino children for life.
But, across the country, leaders in communities of color -- like Tanya Fields, Executive Director of The BLK ProjeK -- are standing up to the burger giant.
Fast food feels the pressure
Already, we can see the impact health professionals are having on the industry. Global media coverage condemning the burger giant's marketing to kids -- from USA Today's coverage of 9-year-old nutrition advocate Hannah Robertson confronting McDonald's CEO Don Thompson, to U.S. News and World Report's coverage of our groundbreaking exposé on McDonald's stingy charity -- is shifting the public climate and ratcheting up pressure on the fast food industry:
- Taco Bell discontinued toy giveaways and kids' meals, and Jack in the Box (the country’s fifth largest hamburger chain) discontinued toy giveaways in kids' meals.
- McDonald's slashed spending on Happy Meals marketing.
- The burger giant is rolling out expensive efforts to increase sales and improve its image -- while still missing the mark and landing at an all-time low when it comes to customer satisfaction.