Is McDonald’s ‘R Gym’ The Answer To Childhood Obesity?

Filed under: Business — @ December 9, 2006

R U ready for McDonald’s and their new “R Gym” exercise rooms?

Guess who’s back in the news again as a heralded champion in the fight against childhood obesity? Yep, it’s that bastion of nutritional and fitness goodness named McDonald’s. They offer kids and parents the very best food money can buy for a healthy lifestyle like Big Macs, French fries, Coca-Cola, chocolate milkshakes, Chicken McNuggets, and so much more. I can’t believe we have such an out-of-control obesity epidemic in this country with such a strong example coming from the Golden Arches!


But that’s the EXACTLY the kind of image the corporate executives in the upper echelons of the McDonald’s empire want people to have in their minds when they think about the world’s #1 fast food restaurant chain. They have been working very diligently over the past year or so to shape and mold themselves as a company that truly cares about the overall health and well-being of its customer base.

You know, that’s kinda like a drug dealer putting a filter on that marijuana cigarette he sells you to make it “better” for you. It’s superficial change at best that still results in damage to your health. Nevertheless, McDonald’s has certainly been trying to fool…er, I mean, convince the public that they have seen the error in their ways and are ready to make things right.

Here are just a few of the things they have done:

1. They encourage people this woman on a McDiet to counter the negative publicity they received from Morgan Spurlock and his “Super Size Me” movie and book. That unexpected hit film from a few years back has done more to expose Mickey D’s than just about anything else in our culture. The heat was turned up on McDonald’s yet again when Eric Schlosser’s brand new film “Fast Food Nation” hit selected theaters in November 2006.

2. In a move that I applauded when it was first brought to light in late 2005, McDonald’s is now printing the nutrition information on the packaging of the foods they sell. While critics complain that customers cannot see this information until AFTER they have purchased their meal, the fact is anyone can obtain this data anytime by visiting the McDonald’s web site or referencing the big nutritional chart posted near the register inside the restaurant.

3. Many people were surprised to see in September 2006 for the first time in the history of McDonald’s that they agreed to donate $2 million to childhood obesity and diabetes research. McDonald’s claims they wanted to show the public that they are serious about helping to combat these issues and put their proverbial money where their mouth is.

Now we can add another element to the rebuilding of the McDonald’s image with the introduction of their new “R Gym” concept. The days of kids playing around in a public pool of balls and crawling around in tubes like lab rats are numbered as a new generation of children will have a full workout activity room to climb a rock wall, ride on a stationary bike hooked up to a video game, and shoot some hoops–all while dining at McDonald’s!

Click here to find out why the “R Gym” does not abdicate McDonald’s of its role in the obesity epidemic and what measures they can take to attract the health-conscious consumer (and, no, it’s not yogurt or apple dippers with sugary caramel sauce!).


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