The Golden Arches Strike Again...

Last week, I told you about fast-food chains like McDonald's gobbling up the real estate near public schools in urban areas, arguably a strong contributor to the epidemic of obesity in this country, particularly among children.

This week, McDonald's is launching a national physical education program for elementary school kids, which many experts -- me included -- believe is no more than a clever advertising scheme tailor-made for the Golden Arches' target audience.

Some 31,000 elementary schools in the United States, encompassing 7 million students, have agreed to use McDonald's "Passport to Play" program this year, a great way for the fast-food giant to expose their toxic high-fat foods to a captive and impressionable audience.

No doubt in my mind the Harvard researcher who oversaw the recent fast-food real estate study had it right when she called the Passport program a Trojan horse that allows McDonald's to maintain their brand-name awareness in our public schools.

If parents don't take control over their kids' eating habits in short order, they could grow up suffering from health problems typically found in middle-aged adults.

USA Today September 13, 2005

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