Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is Ronald McDonald The One Making Your Kids Fat?

Artist Sally Davies decided one day to chronicle the decomposition of a McDonalds Happy Meal right in her kitchen by taking a photo of it each and every day until it rotted into oblivion. Well as you can see above on day 180, the meal is practically unchanged except for the fact that it was hard as a rock. Now I for one have never really thought about the significance of food going bad. Usually when my bread turns green I just toss it in the trash, but imagine what they put in that food that makes it repel Mother Nature? Maybe someone will start shooting it into their lips instead of Botox? Hmmm...On to an article I read today in AM New York about fast food and the rampant epidemic of obesity in today's children. The article discusses whether it's the parents or the over-suggestive advertising that is marketed towards the children that is to blame. I for one am a perfect person to debate this issue since I have two young ones who both love going to McDonalds. Now let me just say that I try to relegate the amount of trips to McDonalds to two times a month and honestly the kids desire to go only stems from what toys currently are being offered in the Happy Meals. That my friends comes from advertising. These fast food companies know that kids spend a ton of time in front of their televisions, usually watching cartoons like Spongebob or shows like iCarly, and think that it would be the perfect time to promote their product. Some part of me thinks that's truly brilliant advertising and the definition of what marketing is supposed to be, but as a parent of young children it makes me believe that there is also some evil at play. And when I say evil I don't mean some red dude with horns. What I do mean is a corporation who sits around all day crunching numbers devising ways to get kids to eat more kids meals. Ultimately as parents we are responsible for what our children eat and I still believe that it is up to us not to just simply give in. Then on the other hand we can't completely eliminate the bad food because eventually our children will be old enough to just buy it on their own. I remember when I was a kid my Mom wouldn't allow us to have any sugared cereals in our house and until my first sleep over I didn't think anything of it. But once I got my first taste of Fruity Pebbles and Lucky Charms at Mark Mitchell's house all I knew after that was that I wanted more of it.  It's a double-edged sword but as parents we have to be more accountable either way.
Here are some interesting statistics:

$4.2 Billion dollars was spent on advertising by the fast food industry in 2009

12 kids meals out of a total 3,039 were considered to be nutritional

84 percent of parents say they take their kids to eat fast food at least once a week (wow!)

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