Health Experts Attack McDonald's, but Can They Bite Into Its Bottom Line?

McDonald's (MCD) got a letter from 550 health experts Wednesday accusing the fast food giant of ignoring the impact its products -- and its marketing -- have on America's children. "McDonald's and industry front groups have refused to address the dangerous toll that fast food and predatory marketing is taking on our kids," they wrote.

"In the decades to come, one in three children will develop type 2 diabetes as a result of diets high in McDonald's-style junk food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," the experts noted. The letter, which also attacked Ronald McDonald as a marketing toll which helps the fast food company draw in younger customers, ran in several papers around the country, including large metros like The Chicago Sun-Times.

At an associated Letter to McDonald's website, consumers were encouraged to add their signatures, and "Invite your friends and colleagues to sign the letter" via email, Twitter or Facebook. Several famous doctors were signatories, including Hans-Olov Adami, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and William C. Roberts, M.D., the executive director at the Baylor Cardiovascular Institute.

In response, McDonald's has said that it is proud of the food it offers, and that Ronald McDonald teaches children to be active.

Ultimately, McDonald's may not care much about this latest critique.The letter may be a public relations distraction, but McDonald's food has been under fire for years, to no apparent effect on its bottom line. McDonald's shares have risen by more than 120% in the last five years, which is well above the Dow's improvement of less than 20%. During the same period, its earnings and sales have moved higher, and McDonald's has returned billions of dollars to investors via share buybacks and dividends. The stock currently has a yield of 3%. Same-store sales at the chain were up 6% in April, which beat Wall Street's estimates.

So far, critics of the fast food company's menu and marketing have made no visible dent in McDonald's success.

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Anybody ever heard of self control? And making good decisions for children too young to make their own? Just a concept, I guess!!!!!!

July 17 2011 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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May 28 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In a related subject, look for the documentary McLibel: Two People Who would Not Say McSorry. You can watch it online-- a documentary about two British activists that challenged McDonald might by challenging them to a duel in court-- it turned out to be the longest libel trial in history and a major embarrassment to McDonalds when the judge said they did exploit children and were cruel to animals!

May 28 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

GOOD FOR THESE HEALTH EXPERTS! People can get rid of a lot of health problems just by giving up garbage food like this. The more I get rid of them, the better I feel. I like health foods now, and you can still eat veggie burgers and organic fries on such a healthy diet-- great comfort food. Just lay off the sugared drinks and milkshakes-- no way to redeem that crud.

May 28 2011 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The difference between cooking your own food, which can be robust in calories, fat and sugar and the fast food that one eats, is that the fast food has been so heavily processed with chemicals, the produce grown from genetically altered crops, the meat grown on gmo corn and soy products, along with other unmentionable products, which, if the public were aware of how they raise meat, it would give people better data to make an informed decision on what to feed themselves and their children. Experts quote almost 85 percent of the supermarket food on the shelf has a form of genetically altered food in them, with convenience packages being the worst offenders. A bill was proposed to give the public the data on which foods are genetically modified and which were not, in which corporations clamored that it would eat into their profit making potential if the public did not buy their products from fear of what they were ingesting. The public does have a right to know what is for sale, much like people have the right to know what it is they are buying, such as a home, a car, all the fine details and food is not out of the question.

May 22 2011 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

McDonnalds has long had the reputation of using that clown to entice kids, who today are now parents of a new generation that grew up eating at that establishment. Eating foods that looked tasty, along with a dressed up clown were marketing tools to get people to patronize this large fast food business. With empirical evidence showing the health hazards of eating McDonalds has disastrous effeects not only on your waistline, but your overall health, as many develop cardiovascular troubles, emotional mood swings and the shortening of one's life from eating this stuff they call food. If one does research on how this food was processed, it would enlighten the public to make better choices, as the meat has been so heavily tainted from gmo fed cattle and poultry, that scientists are cautioning the public not to eat this stuff... For more information, watch the documentary dvd "Food Inc."

May 22 2011 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to charles's comment
Steven Mackey

When did every other restaurant suddenly become healthy? I don't see any of them named here. But stop blaming McD's for the lack of parenting. Child wants a happy meal you say no. Simple as that. Stop caving like a Chilean mine.

May 28 2011 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a bunch of lib freaks trying to tell you what to eat and trying to tell McD what to sell. Screw them all. I am headed to Micky D's for a double big Mac with cheese, and the libs can go to hell. The entire USA says **** you, libs.

May 22 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I looked up about half a dozen of those "health experts". Most seem to be self-styled experts than any real credentials.

May 22 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just like the attacks on Walmart. God forbid a successful American business. These are the same people who run manufacturing out of the USA with regulation, taxes, and outragous demands. What is their next target?

May 22 2011 at 2:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

All of you that think that having food that will contribute to higher serious illness rates is just fine and it's up to parents to stay away (I agree with that sentiment), must also agree then that currently illegal drugs should be legalized. It's up to the individual whether they wish to indulge. Right?

May 22 2011 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RickN's comment
Steven Mackey

Are you really comparing food at McD's to illegal drugs?

May 28 2011 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply