Wednesday, May 7, 2014


It is McHappy Day across Canada. All McDonald's restaurants in the country work together to raise funds for local children's charities.

In this province, one dollar from every Big Mac, Happy Meal and hot McCafe beverage sold across the province goes towards Ronald McDonald House located across the street from the Janeway Hospital in St. John's where hundreds of families have been assisted over the last two years. 

Every day families from all over Newfoundland and Labrador face the reality of a sick or injured child. For many of them this means they must travel to St. John's, to receive specialized pediatric care and treatment at the Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre. Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home for sick children, and their families. 

I will probably treat the boys to MacDonald's for supper tonight despite my reservations about the impact of the fast food industry on childhood obesity. 

There is something uncomfortably nagging about jumping on the bandwagon for a restaurants that undoubtedly contributes to people's poor health and eating habits. There is no debating the impact that poor diet choices play in a range of illnesses such as heart disease, type two diabetes, tooth decay, as well as obesity.

Some argue that  what we eat is a choice and if folks are serving their kids hamburgers and fries everyday than the they need to accept responsibility for what they are doing. I agree to a point, but for families with low incomes, the lure of cheap food trumps healthy options.

I wish that a percentage of the money raised today could go directly to awareness campaigns about the causes of childhood obesity and the impact it is having on the the health of children and the healthcare system.

One dollar, on one day tied to the purchase of McDonald's products does seem a tad bit self-serving considering the immense profits that the chain continues to pull in.

I would like to see this province adopt a fat tax on sugary drinks and other unhealthy food in order to cut consumption by enough to reduce obesity and other diet-related diseases. 

The revenue generated could be used to offset the introduction of  subsidies on healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables.


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