Opinion: Can I Have a Heart Attack With That?

by Jon Gonzalez, Staff Writer 401 views1

Courtesy Food In Mouth Blog

You may see it all of the time on television: McDonald’s All-Americans, LeBron James and Dwight Howard acting in clever McDonald’s commercials or McDonald’s sponsoring the Olympics.

The company that brought us the famous, or infamous, Big Mac has had its hand in sports for years now, but McDonalds run has gone on for far too long and there seems no end in sight. McDonald’s loves to shove their golden arches down our throats until we want some more Coke with it. They are relentless.

But the only thing this advertising is doing is pushing the notion that these athletes think it’s okay to eat burgers and fries when we know that it’s not what they believe at all, not for a second. Is McDonald’s the only company to blame? Not by a long shot. But McDonald’s is the cherry on top to the sundae of unhealthy food.

Last time I checked, Olympic superstar Michael Phelps’ massive diet doesn’t include a McDLT. That could be because McDonald’s, sadly, does not make the McDLT anymore, but I’ll save that for another day.

When it comes to America, it’s no shocker that we don’t pride ourselves on being the healthiest eaters.

Our love for beef is the main reason more people die from heart disease in this country than any other disease.
By Jonathan Gonzalez – Cougar News Contributor

The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website states that about 785,000 people will have their first heart issue this year. What’s worse is that 470,000 will have their second or more heart attacks.

So what bothers me is that we let McDonald’s sponsor such important events that include superstars, which children look up to. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 children from the ages of six through nineteen are considered obese.

One child for every five is obese? Wake up America!

I think it’s safe to say that some of our professional athletes, especially in the sports of football and basketball, come from low-income families and low-income neighborhoods.

And according to Britain’s Social Issues Research Centre, it’s in these same neighborhoods where obesity is found to be more common than areas with more money. But that doesn’t apply only to the UK.

In 2008, the City of Los Angeles put a two-year moratorium on new fast-food outlets being built in the city’s southern section. South Los Angeles has the most poverty in the city and, by no coincidence, the most obesity problems.

Think about it: the City of Los Angeles stopped the building of McDonald’s and friends for two years. Isn’t that enough of a sign?

I do believe that we need to promote healthy food just as much, if not more, as we publicly knock down fast-food restaurants. But we have yet to hold McDonald’s and its fast food counter-parts fully responsible for this epidemic. I have three solutions to solving this problem:

1.
Here’s a short list provided on the McDonald’s website of sports leagues, organizations, events or athletes they currently sponsor: Olympics, FIFA World Cup, NBA stars LeBron James and Dwight Howard, High School All-American awards for basketball, NHL, and NHLPA. It’s a short list but only because there are so many more sports they sponsor, mainly local teams.

If all of these organizations pride themselves on helping the community, then they need to put a clause in their athlete’s contracts that restrict them from sponsorships with fast-food companies. Health organizations or restaurants with healthier choices should instead sponsor these athletes to promote a better quality of life.

This will help influence children to walk into a Subway instead of a McDonald’s. They will better understand the importance of living healthy.

2.
My second solution is to ban fast-food commercials off of television just like we did with cigarettes. If you think that’s crazy, hear me out.

Cigarette companies were advertising with cartoon characters to try to reach kids, but we banned their commercials because of how unhealthy cigarettes can be. Well, cigarettes don’t kill as many people in America as heart disease does. Let’s ban Ronald McDonald off the television! He’s terrifying enough.

What our kids need are some carrots and broccoli, not McFlurry’s and Big Mac’s.

3.
Lastly, arenas, stadiums and ballparks need to cease sponsorships with these companies as well. If these sporting locations want to have a McDonald’s inside, then they need to match it with a healthy option as well. We shouldn’t have to look at the golden arches logo on the inside of hockey rinks, on the jumbo-tron or at Busch Stadium, where former Cardinal Mark McGwire, nicknamed Big Mac, was the reason they put in a huge sign that reads “Big Mac Land” where fans can go grab one of the tasty burgers.

Last time I checked, McGwire didn’t rely on chicken nuggets and French fries to become a superstar. He used steroids instead, but that’s a bad analogy.

Regardless, don’t you think that if Disney could end their relationship with McDonald’s four years ago, due to concern that many children only buy happy meals simply for the toy, that stadiums can limit McDonald’s presence as well?

But could you say I’ve gone a little overboard? Sure. You could also state that McDonald’s isn’t the only reason America is fat and you would be right.

But that’s why I must insert this quote from Johan Jervoe, McDonald’s Corporate vice president in charge of global marketing: “Sports sponsorship in general, but in particular during rough times, is really a great enabler to connect with your consumers. There’s a lot of buzz around sports.”

Yeah, they really are trying to get to our kids during these tough financial times. They understand how much better a hamburger tastes than a salad, and how much cheaper one costs, so it’s up to us to understand the danger.

Sources:
1. http://www.mcdonalds.ca/en/aboutus/sport.aspx
2. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE52864Q20090309
3. http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm
4. http://www.sirc.org/articles/poverty_and_obesity.shtml

  • John

    It’s sad how fat America is getting these days. Good job on the article, a lot of good points and possible solutions.