Doctors Say McDonald's Lies in Kids Promotion

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a public-interest group based in Washington D.C., has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the McDonald's restaurant chain for use of false claims about the benefits of foods in the meat group.

In a complaint to the FTC's Division of Advertising Practices, the Physicians Committee states that McDonald's ignores the abundance of medical evidence which proves that meat is harmful to human health. Instead, the Committee claims, McDonald's has slickly produced a children's promotional campaign which tells kids that they can "climb higher and ride their bikes farther" if they eat foods from the meat group. Although the meat group also includes beans and nuts, most of the foods in the group are high-fat animal products.

The Physicians Committee insists that the concept that meat improves endurance was abandoned more that 100 years ago. Endurance depends on carbohydrates, which are abundant in grains, vegetables and beans. The organization of doctors has asked the FTC to intervene to stop McDonald's from beginning the campaign in March.

The Physicians Committee's complaint to the FTC, which was released to the media today, reads in part, "Telling kids they can climb higher and ride their bikes farther by eating foods in the meat group is like telling them they can get more homework done by watching TV. There is absolutely no evidence which supports their position.... Scientific evidence inextricably links meat to heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes and stroke."

Studies has shown that the coronary artery blockages that ultimately lead to heart attacks begin in childhood. Studies during the Korean War showed that more than three-quarters of American soldiers had the beginnings of coronary artery blockages by age 23, mainly attributable to the meat-based diet American children consume. Diet also contributes to at least 35% of cancer deaths, and again meat is a major contributor, particularly to colon cancer.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has also written a letter to McDonald's corporate headquarters explaining its objections to the promotion. The letter asks that McDonald's offer vegetarian burgers and fresh fruit to its customers as a way of showing that it genuinely cares about the nutritional value of its products. The letter further asks that McDonald's rewrite its promotional literature to teach children about the potential dangers of eating meat products.

The McDonald's campaign is being co-sponsored by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), and is scheduled to appear in McDonald's restaurants during National Nutrition Month in March.

The preceding text is taken from a press release issued by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

For more information, contact:

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
P.O. Box 6322
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 686-2210

Back to Media Page

Press Index