McDonald's® Unveils Bold Balanced Lifestyles Platform
Multi-Year Effort Focused on Food Choice, Physical Activity and Education
Apr 15, 2004
McDonald's today unveiled an unprecedented, comprehensive balanced lifestyles platform to help address obesity in America and improve the nation's overall physical well-being. McDonald's multi-year plan, focusing on children and adults, promotes the importance of balance and includes significant efforts in the areas of food choices, physical activity and education.
"This is a complex issue that is affecting many people throughout the world," said Jim Skinner, vice chairman, McDonald's Corporation. "As a customer-driven organization, we are committed to playing a responsible and active role to be part of the solution. Our restaurants around the world are fully engaged in this important effort. We are proud of our accomplishments and remain committed to doing even more."
The goal of McDonald's multi-disciplinary plan is to educate, assist, and engage consumers in ways that change individual behavior, resulting in better food/energy balance in their lives. Food/energy balance is the simple equation of calories in/calories out. In the U.S., McDonald's will work with the nation's foremost health, nutrition, and education experts to develop and implement a broad-based consumer education campaign to help Americans achieve a healthier, balanced lifestyle.
"At McDonald's, our customers are our top priority," said Michael Roberts, president, McDonald's USA. "We have always led the way on issues that are important to our customers, such as food safety, the environment and children's well-being, so it is only natural that McDonald's would also take the lead on addressing this important issue. We want to help adults achieve the right balance between their daily calorie intake and physical activity, and to help children adopt active, balanced lifestyle habits early on."
McDonald's balanced lifestyles platform is also a clear answer to the call from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the private sector to become more involved in finding solutions to the obesity issue.
"Poor eating habits and inactivity are contributing factors to Americans' declining health. There are small steps that we can take everyday to protect our health, including being physically active everyday and eating a nutritious diet," said Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). "This announcement by McDonald's is a positive step toward helping Americans make healthier choices."
One way McDonald's will be leading in this area is by volunteering to work with HHS to determine the most effective ways to communicate food nutrition information to consumers, both in restaurants and through broad-based consumer education.
"McDonald's is proud to respond to the call to work with HHS on this important undertaking, on behalf of our customers and employees," said Roberts.
As part of the balanced lifestyles plan, McDonald's will also encourage more than 600,000 U.S. restaurant employees to take the first steps in leading healthy, active lives by providing them with Stepometers™ and education materials to promote walking and well-being.
McDonald's balanced lifestyle platform is focused on three significant areas: food choices, education and physical activity. Below are a few highlights of the comprehensive platform.
McDonald's 2004 Balanced Lifestyles Platform Highlights New Food Choices and Ordering Options -- National launch of the first-ever "Go Active!™ Adult Happy Meal." Designed to promote the importance of food/energy balance, this Happy Meal for adults includes a Premium Salad, bottled water, and a Stepometer™ so consumers can track their daily steps. There will also be a brochure that promotes walking as an attainable -- and effective -- exercise goal. Authored by exercise physiologist, and Oprah Winfrey's personal trainer, Bob Greene, and endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine, consumers can use the brochure as a stepping stone to create their own exercise and physical activity routines. -- National launch of McDonald's New Happy Meal Choices. New Happy Meal Choices give parents and children the opportunity to mix and match offerings. The new offerings include Apple Dippers® (fresh, peeled apple slices) served with a low-fat caramel dipping sauce, and new beverage choices including 100% pure apple juice, white and chocolate 1% Milk Jugs, served in child-friendly containers. -- New McDonald's Menu Choice Ordering Options. Available nationally, these options include the ability to order burgers and other sandwiches "low-carb-style," without the buns, and a "Simple Steps" brochure that shows customers how to order across the menu to lower fat, calories and carbohydrates if desired. Education and Easily Accessible Nutrition Information -- McDonald's will team up with third-party experts to bring sound science and practical tips to all Americans. Currently, many in the health and nutrition industry are already playing a pivotal role in working with McDonald's in a broad-scale consumer education campaign, including Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and others. -- McDonald's volunteers to take an industry-leading role to respond to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine the best way to communicate nutrition information to consumers. This will occur both in restaurants and through broad-based consumer education initiatives, to help Americans make informed food choices based on their individual needs and lifestyle. -- McDonald's will test providing nutrition information on Happy Meals in parent-approved and child-friendly ways. The objective is to help families make informed choices and learn ways to achieve good food/energy balance. -- McDonald's is providing detailed nutrition information on trayliners and in-restaurant "McDonald's & You" Nutrition Facts brochures and on the food and nutrition section of www.mcdonalds.com , which receives more than 250,000 customer visits every month. This site also includes a unique, interactive tool, called "Bag-a-McMeal," which allows consumers to select any combination of McDonald's menu items and the nutritional values are automatically calculated for them. -- McDonald's is providing a program called What's On Your Plate, featuring Willie Munchright™ to schools across the country. The program teaches elementary school children the importance of physical activity and making smart food choices. The program has been updated to reflect current knowledge in the nutrition community and to address relevant needs of today's children. Originally launched and embraced by nutritionists in 1992, McDonald's is making copies of this program, which includes vignettes, leader guides and activity books, available free to schools throughout the U.S. -- McDonald's has already reallocated a significant amount of children's retail marketing messaging to programming that positively impacts parents and children in the areas of health, education and development. This includes helping to underwrite Sesame Street, sponsoring Nickelodeon's Playful Parent series that encourages parents to take an active, fun role in their children's playtime, and collaborating on in-school programs such as McDonald's and Scholastic, Inc.'s Reading Corners. Physical Activity -- McDonald's will launch "McDonald's Go Active! American Challenge," with Bob Greene. Greene will walk and bike across America for 36 consecutive days, challenging people to take steps toward more active lives. This will be the largest, sustained undertaking to date to encourage Americans all across the country to commit to more physical activity in their lives. Through the "Go Active! Happy Meal" and "Go Active! American Challenge," an estimated 10 to 15 million Stepometers and walking/fitness booklets will be distributed to Americans throughout the country. -- McDonald's is bringing together Ronald McDonald, the second most recognizable character in the world, and local Olympic athletes to help children adopt good physically active habits early in their lives through "Get Moving with Ronald McDonald." This on-lot show emphasizes the importance of activity in everyday life and was developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics. -- McDonald's, as a long-standing sponsor of the Olympics, will pilot a youth Olympic soccer clinic this spring to help promote physical activity among kids. The goal is to make this program available to local soccer organizations nationwide later this year.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) is the world's leading foodservice retailer, with more than 30,000 restaurants serving more than 46 million people each day. Approximately 70 percent of McDonald's U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent local businessmen and women.Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990916/MCDLOGO
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SOURCE: McDonald's Corporation
CONTACT: Heather Oldani of McDonald's US Communications,
+1-630-623-8150, or Colleen Finn of Golin-Harris International,
Web site: http://www.mcdonalds.com/