Picking on Ronald McDonald

I am well aware that New Brunswick leads all of Canada for obese children. I know the stats. But I am not sure that Draconian measures such as banning Ronald McDonald from NB schools is a good move. Firstly, if we make McDonalds public enemy #1, the kids will want it more (yes, remember back to when you were a teen). Secondly, McDonalds has made attempts to make their food more healthy and thirdly, in all things the issue is moderation. No kid will become obese if they eat healthy 29 days a month and have a burger on the 30th. For my kids, McDonalds is still a treat (once a month). It’s when we eat burgers, fries and cokes every day that we get obese.

I hope that New Brunswick starts aggressively supporting efforts to overcome the terrible problem of obesity. But it’s not about banning Ronald. It’s about offering healthy food in the cafeterias (and they are starting to do this). It’s about encouraging more physical activity (not sure about this). And it’s about working with parents to encourage overall healthy lifestyles well beyond the borders of the school yard.

Ronald McDonald barred from N.B. schools

New Brunswick’s Education Department has given the boot to the corporate clown in the big red shoes.

Education officials say Ronald McDonald, the clown mascot for fast-food giant McDonald’s, sends contradictory and confusing messages during his appearances in elementary schools to promote fitness and healthy eating.

The department has sent a memo to all school districts advising them that the McDonald’s clown is inconsistent with the fitness goals and objectives of the province’s school system. Premier Shawn Graham, a former gym teacher, is promising to beef up physical education programs in schools in an effort to curb the growing problem of childhood obesity.

Although the schools will drop classroom appearances by Ronald McDonald, a spokesperson for the Fredericton district says schools will continue to participate in a McDonald’s-sponsored fitness program. The program rewards schools with credits towards the purchase of gym equipment.

–Canadian Press