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Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move!, Encouraged by McDonald’s Commitment to Promoting Healthier Options

On the heels of the First Lady’s call to action to companies to market healthier options to families, today, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Clinton Global Initiative and McDonald’s announced a commitment McDonald’s has made to increase families’ access to affordable fruits, vegetables and low-fat/fat-free dairy, to adjust the marketing and packaging of the Happy Meal to showcase healthy options, and to include fun nutritional messages in advertising directed to children. 

McDonald’s committed to offering a side salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for fries in their value meals. They also have made commitments around their Happy Meals, including offering only water, milk, and juice as the beverage in Happy Meals on their menu boards, in-store, and on external advertising. Additionally, they will use Happy Meal and other packaging innovations and designs to generate excitement for fruit, vegetable, low/reduced-fat dairy, or water options for kids. Happy Meal box or bag panels will also communicate engaging nutrition or children’s well-being messages, and these messages will be included in 100 percent of their advertising to children. 

Last week, at a White House Convening on Food Marketing to Children, First Lady Michelle Obama emphasized the importance of helping make the healthy choice the easy choice for families, stating that the goal is to “empower parents instead of undermining them as they try to make healthier choices for their families.” This commitment is a step in the right direction in providing and promoting healthier options for families and kids. 

In response to this announcement, Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition said, 

“We are encouraged by the progress announced today by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Clinton Global Initiative and McDonald’s. Making it easier for families to choose a healthy beverage in kids’ meals, and providing a salad option in the value menu are positive steps. A great deal of work remains to be done if we are going to ensure our children have the nourishment they need to live healthy lives and reach their full potential. In a country where one in three children are on track to have diabetes, greater actions are needed from the entire restaurant industry and beyond to solve this crisis.  We look forward to continuing our work with leaders from across the country to forge solutions that help families raise healthier kids.”