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McDonald’s unwraps healthier menu plans

The fast food chain McDonald’s last week announced nutritional changes to its menu intended to provide healthier options. (NNPA) – The fast food chain McDonald’s last week announced nutritional changes to its menu intended to provide healthier options.

“Right now, America is having important conversations about childhood obesity, well-being and healthy choices and I’m proud that McDonald’s is engaged in those conversations,” Jan Field, president of McDonald’s USA, said in a statement.

The fast food giant is planning on offering fewer fries and more apples in its signature Happy Meals for kids, while offering a 15 percent decrease in sodium in its menu by 2015. By 2020, the company plans reductions in sugars, saturated fat and calories.

The announcement was met with a positive reaction from first lady Michelle Obama.

“McDonald’s is making continued progress today by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals,” Obama said in a statement. “I’ve always said that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity. McDonald’s has continued to evolve its menu, and I look forward to hearing about the progress of today’s commitments, as well as efforts in the years to come.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer group that filed suit against McDonald’s for using Happy Meal toys to attract children, is equally pleased with the announcement.

“McDonald’s is an industry leader and Happy Meals have been copied by so many restaurants,” CSPI policy director Margo Wootan told Reuters. “Having them change the nutritional quality for the Happy Meal sets a standard for the industry.”

Happy Meal French Fry sizes will be reduced from 2.4 ounces to 1.1 and will feature fat-free chocolate milk, 1 percent white milk or soda, if requested by a parent.

The initiative will begin in September with the goal of introducing healthier options into all the restaurant’s locations by the first quarter of next year.

McDonald’s officials said the company will also provide funding for community-based nutritional education programs.

(Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers)

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