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21/11/02 . by unknown . Associated Press . New York
Are Big Macs hazardous to children's health?
Lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against McDonald's on behalf of New York children who have suffered health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
In federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday, a lawyer alleged that the fast-food chain has created a national epidemic of obese children. Samuel Hirsch argued that the high fat, sugar and cholesterol content of McDonald's food is ''a very insipid, toxic kind of thing'' when ingested regularly by young kids.
The plaintiffs include a Bronx teen who ate every meal at McDonald's for three years while living in a homeless shelter. Another is a 13-year-old boy from Staten Island who says he ate at McDonald's food three to four times a week and is now 5-foot-4 and 278 pounds.
McDonald's lawyer Brad Lerman insisted the lawsuit was a frivolous attempt to cash in on the Golden Arches, ''the kind of lawsuit that shouldn't be in court.''
''People don't go to sleep thin and wake up obese,'' Lerman said. ''The understanding and comprehension of what hamburgers and french fries do has been with us for a long, long time.''
McDonald's has asked Judge Robert Sweet to dismiss the case, arguing those who filed the claims cannot show their
health woes were caused by Big Macs and insisting the company has never misled customers about its food. The
judge did not immediately rule on the request.