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

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0 Responses to Picking on Ronald McDonald

  1. Anonymous says:

    Put it this way, it sure as hell doesn’t HELP. Check the contents of fast food meals, there are more chemicals in there than cigarettes, and people can react any which way.

    Fast food has also been found to be addictive, not to mention that McDonalds has been linked to some of the worst environmental activities and corruption all over the world. The idea that their frontman clown can come in to classrooms pretending to be every child’s friend is enough reason to toss his coloured wigs out of there. Its embarassing that he was inthere in the first place.

    Whats next, Joe Camel telling the kids to switch to lites. The idea that we NEED corporate spokespeople to teach kids is pretty frightening.

  2. Anonymous says:

    PS, watch “life and debt” or “supersize me” for the other side.

  3. Blackjack says:

    Its about time someone took the lead in this. My hat is off to Education NB for this initiative. This activity promotes brand recognition in children at a very young age so they will become loyal to the brand. I saw supersize me and took note of the section where children recognised an image of RMcD ahead of every other example including Jesus Christ.
    A large one heading to the Education Department from me, nice to know someone in government is on the ball. It is fortunate that the Irvings dont own any McD franchises in the province – or do they?

  4. scott says:

    That’s bogus, blackjack. First of all, I do not [nor will I ever] take any advice from an opportunistic shock artist like Morgan Spurlock. Secondly, it’s ludicrous, IMHO, to listen to the outrageous views of people like Micheal Moore, Bill O’Reilly, Spurlock or Al Franken. Their data is completely flawed and only imbeciles believe what is spewing from their mouths.

    I am in agreement with David, in that, government is playing the hamburgler here by being nothing more than pseudo food police. It’s almost like Lamrock is saying that MacDonalds is conspiring to prevent us from exercising.

    The fact is we have steadily engineered physical activity out of our daily lives here in New Brunswickers. For instance, since 1960, the proportion of trips to work by walking has declined more than 70 percent. And not only that, once we get to work, we send e-mail to coworkers instead of getting up and going to talk to them. The bottom line is we are lazier by trade.

    As for kids in elementary school, they are less active than generations of the past. I know most of us have heard the story from granpa who walked to school 10 miles both ways uphill in the snow, and though it is a far fetched story, it is not an exageration that a generation ago, 80 percent of children walked or biked to school, at least occasionally. Now, more than 80 percent never do.

    As well, young kids are six times more likely to play video games rather than ride a bike in a given day. No wonder there are increasing numbers of pudgy kids.

    I know this is part of a much larger campaign by the Liberals to curb childhood obesity, I just don’t think banning Rotten Ronnie was the best thing to do, nor is it the solution to a far greater weight problem in New Brunswick.

  5. David Campbell says:

    I don’t even like McDonald’s but maybe it’s my libertarian tendancies (which I have) coming out in me. I get a little nervous when the government starts getting into Prohibition mode for whatever reason. Old Ronnie was going around talking about the importance of sensible eating and telling kids to eat more healthy. He wasn’t telling kids to stuff their faces full of burgers. I know. I know. I saw Supersize Me too. I’ll get back to a subject matter I know a little better in future posts.

  6. Blackjack says:

    Scott, There is nothing bogus about programming children into becoming loyal patrons of multinational branding. Whether you like it or not it is happening and not just with McDs either. Coca Cola among others are just as guilty. I am not espousing the views of Michael Mopre or Morgan Spurlock either. Yes I saw supersize me and, although I thought it was opportunism gone mad, the brand recognition test with children shocked me so you will have to excuse me for being ludicrous.
    I am aware of the new healthy initiative being offered by mcDs in their restaurants but it has become apparent that their salad choices contain nearly as much and sometimes more fat than their burgers so someone somewhere has to take a stand and the government of NB has the admiration of this imbecile.
    We must recognise that society has changed since the ‘good old days’. We lead a more sedentary lifestyle to begin with and children embrace very bad habits from a young age.
    IMHO this is a good first step on a very long road and I am entitled to hold a humble opinion in the same way that everyone else is.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, everybody knows ‘morgan shurlock’ (or whatever his name is) is ‘opportunistic’. Everybody knows you just do independant documentaries so that you can become a household name.

    If you have an ideological problem with some, go watch “Life and Debt”. Or, radical idea, read a book!

    We aren’t talking about exercise here, we’re talking about education. That has nothing to do with ‘libertarianism’. Corporate spokespeople in the classroom aren’t necessary and certainly aren’t desirable. Notice how they mention that this practise was only available in three provinces.

    Nobody is talking about ‘prohibition’, thats just crazy. Nobody is even talking about the restaurants themselves. Just a note, in Ontario there was a debate for a while because the government was going to add an extra tax on fast food meals. These places are as hard on the medical system as any other vice.

    As for supersize me, if you think its propaganda, simply repeat the experiment. Try it, I did it for four meals but couldnt’ do any more it made me so sick. However, it is addictive, and once I stopped I started craving it almost immediately.

    If you need a spokesperson, dress up a guy like a carrot or something.