McDonald's Sides With Health

Teams up with President Clinton's Alliance for a Healthier Generation

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, to increase customers' access to fruit and vegetables and help families and children to make informed choices in keeping with balanced lifestyles. McDonald's specifically commits to provide customers a choice of a side salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for French fries in value meals and to how it promotes and advertises Happy Meals.

Don Thompson (left), President Bill Clinton, Howell Wechsler

The quick-service restaurant (QSR) chains said it will:

  • Promote and market only water, milk and juice as the beverage in Happy Meals on menu boards, in store and on external advertising.
  • Use Happy Meal and other packaging innovations and designs to generate excitement for fruit, vegetable, low/reduced-fat dairy or water options for kids.
  • Dedicate Happy Meal box or bag panels to communicate a fun nutrition or children's well-being message.
  • Ensure 100% of all advertising directed to children to include a fun nutrition or children's well-being message.

President Bill Clinton, founder of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation; Don Thompson, president and CEO of McDonald's; and Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, announced the groundbreaking Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment on Thursday at the 2013 CGI Annual Meeting in New York.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's worked with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to develop a comprehensive plan for 20 of the restaurant chain's largest markets.

"We've seen voluntary agreements with industry have profound impact--including our work with the beverage industry to limit the amount of calories shipped to schools. Those agreements resulted in a 90% reduction in total beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and 2010," said President Clinton. "If we want to curb the catastrophic economic and health implications of obesity across the world we need more companies to follow McDonald's lead and to step up to the plate and make meaningful changes. I applaud them for doing it."

McDonald's will retain an independent third-party organization to verify progress on the commitment in a clear and transparent manner as part of the agreement. All pieces of this commitment will be implemented in 30% to 50% of the 20 major markets within three years and 100% of the 20 markets by 2020.

McDonald's will take these actions in 20 major markets representing more than 85 percent of global sales. The markets are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China (includes Hong Kong), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States.

"This commitment reflects McDonald's progress regarding nutrition and well-being," said Thompson. "Our partnership with the Clinton Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is another important step in our journey. And we know there's more to do. We will continue to use our size and scale around the world to help educate, empower and encourage our customers to make informed choices so they can live a balanced and healthy lifestyle."

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