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Childhood Obesity: Is Ronald McDonald's Time Up?

By HERWriter Guide
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childhood-obesity-and-ronald-mcdonald iStockphoto/Thinkstock

To me, Ronald McDonald is creepy, but that's because I find clowns creepy in general.

Maybe it's the overly enthusiastic smiles that don't always reach the eyes, the thick make-up and wigs -- or maybe it's from reading too much Steven King or articles on John Wayne Gacy.

But I've never really liked clowns. Therefore an adult clown who plays with kids all day isn't someone I'm going to find fun or comforting. I'm probably in the minority though.

Ronald McDonald is one of the best-known characters who represents a global product, and he seems to be loved the world over.

He is instantly recognized from New York to New Delhi, as the guy who encourages kids to eat fast food, get free toys and have a jolly great time doing so.

But McDonald's is coming under fire in recent years.

I'm reminded of the Marlboro Man, whose ruggedly handsome face tried to embody all that was tough and masculine disappeared once the character was exposed as hawking a product that has maimed and killed hundreds of millions (and the actor who portrayed him actually died of smoking-related diseases).

Ronald McDonald is now seen as endorsing foods that are causing children to become unhealthy, obese and entering adulthood as ticking time bombs. Ronald isn't fun anymore.

Burgers and fries are no longer treats, occasionally had by children as a reward for doing well in school or given by grandparents, happy to have a day out with their children's children. They are staples in the lives of young people.

Health groups aren't finding him cute anymore, either. They want him gone.

He encourages kids to eat too much fast food. He makes it sound like it's okay to down burgers and shakes like there's no tomorrow.

In fact, he may be directly responsible for helping make America's children fat.

In fact, well over 500 health organizations and health care providers signed a petition and open letter to the McDonald's Corp last summer, asking Ronald to be retired on the basis that he represents ill health and has no place in society anymore .

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EmpowHER Guest

OMG, Susan, these words in your article resonanate loud and clear about burgers and fries being a, "reward for doing well in school or given by grandparents" -- I've seen that so many times, and it's just got to stop! It's difficult, however, competing with the mega bucks spent on advertising falsehoods and hooking people in on its validity. What we need is a replacement clown, who is more palatable in looks and products advertised.

March 29, 2012 - 6:40am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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