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WATERCOOLER: The McHappy meal deal making nutritionists frown

PROCESSED THOUGHTS: Candice Millard from Candice Eleanor Massage Nutrition and Natural Health says the new McDonald’s promotion is a reflection of Australia’s fast food obsession.
PROCESSED THOUGHTS: Candice Millard from Candice Eleanor Massage Nutrition and Natural Health says the new McDonald’s promotion is a reflection of Australia’s fast food obsession. Allan Reinikka

WOULD you allow your child to eat 23 Happy Meals in eight weeks?

Rockhampton nutritionist Candice Millard thinks the idea of consuming 23 Happy Meals in eight weeks is anything but sweet.

The McDonald's Happy Readers promotion, which hit Rockhampton stores on August 6, allows children to use codes provided in the meals to download eBooks.

Though the page turners seem like a great idea to get kids reading; in order to collect all 10 books and 16 digital readers for free, one child would have to consume more than 20 of the meals in two months.

Ms Millard, the owner of Candice Eleanor Massage Nutrition and Natural Health, yesterday said these sorts of promotions were contributing to Australia's junk food culture.

"It has incentive behind it, they do that for a reason... the essential nutritious components are pretty much void in those foods, which shouldn't really be part of their diet ever," she said.

"All you have to do is drive around Rocky at 5.30 or 6 and you see the line-ups at KFC and Red Rooster... people are using it as a normal, everyday food source and that shouldn't be the case."

While a diet that saturated in fast food is unhealthy at any age, Ms Millard said kids could develop more than diabetes and cardiac problems.

She said hyperactivity, mood swings and concentration problems could be caused by diets high in carbohydrates and artificial additives.

But the problem, she said, extended beyond McDonald's responsibility.

"Kids don't go in to buy McDonald's for themselves... it should be up to the parents to limit the foods regardless of the promotions," she said.

A McDonald's spokesman said the notion of a parent buying 23 Happy Meals in eight weeks for their child was "ridiculous".

"In fact we know that parents take their children to eat at McDonald's only one - two times a month," they said.

"Like all of our Happy Meal toys, the books are also available for purchase for $2 for parents who would like to buy them independently of a Happy Meal."

What do you think about this promotion? Do you agree promotions such as this are contributing to Australia's junk food culture?

Join our daily watercooler conversation by leaving your comment below.

What you're saying on Facebook:

Sarah Ingles: "No way!! My child is never getting a happy meal or any other take away!!! Good food doesn't come with a toy what a stupid concept."

Kaylah Smith-crossley: "No way. My kids are lucky to get a take away meal once a year."

Bat Mel: "Three times a week? You have GOT to be joking."

Claire Mcrae: "Any parent that lets there child eat that much saturated fat food whether McDonalds or any other take away isnt a good parent and needs to learn more on healthy eating...and how to cook."

Brenda Langford: "In 8 weeks my daughter gets like 2-3 happy meals and that's too much!"

Lisa Page: "No I wouldn't and I think it would be really hard to find some one that would. Its great they have an educational toy. Don't like it? Don't go."

Michelle Mckenzie: "It would be cheaper to go to big w to buy a book per week for your kids!! And healthier!!"

Jaime Murphy: "You. Can. Buy. The. Books. Separately. Why is this even an issue??"

Letitia Wedrat Shelton: "You can buy the books by them selves and last time I checked little people don't have cars or money of their own to buy the happy meals,at what point does parent responsible kick in."

Vicki Hall: "Wow this will do wonders for obesity. Just ridiculous."

What's in the bag

Curious to know some calorie counts in the Maccas menu?

  • Big Mac: 493 cal
  • Cheeseburger: 282 cal
  • 6pk nuggets: 297 cal
  • Snack pack (grilled chicken): 225 cal
  • Medium fries: 368 cal

Topics:  editors picks mcdonald mcdonalds nutrition



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