View Full Version : How is it that McDonalds gets tabbed to bear responsibility for making kids fat?

Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:31 AM
Leonard Pitts Jr.
Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Dec. 02, 2002

Have it your way -- and take blame

I offer you today a column for the season of holiday feasts when, for most of us at least, stomachs are pleasantly taut and we wander about with that sense of warm contentment that comes of appetites indulged, that sense of well-being, good cheer and rightness with the world that is unfortunately followed, as naturally as sun follows moon, by insidious guilt, crushing remorse and solemn self-promises to henceforth eat only carrots and tofu and to hit the gym hard and regularly beginning at dawn on Jan. 1.

A column, in other words, for the days of bloat. Fellow fat folks, I bring you good news:

It's not your fault. Blame your jumbo-size thighs on the host who offered morsels too tasty to resist. Blame the stomach that arrives five seconds before you do on the restaurant whose menu was just too darn appealing. Blame the backside that's spreading like an oil spill on the big bones you inherited from your mother.

Blame anyone and everything, in other words, except your own utterly blameless self.

This is the tempting and inescapable implication of a lawsuit wending its way through the federal court system in New York. The class-action suit, filed on behalf of several children, seeks to hold McDonald's legally culpable for making its customers fat.

Life-threatening fat, in fact. One plaintiff, a 15-year-old Bronx boy, is a McDonald's regular who is said to be five feet six inches tall, to weigh 400 pounds and to suffer from diabetes.

So let me get this straight: A regular diet of Big Macs and fries will make you fat and wreck your health? Wow. I mean, who could have figured?

Apparently, not these kids or their parents. It's all news to them.

Yeah, right. And if you buy that, I've got a magic weight-loss pill you're going to love.

Hey, I like seeing a huge conglomerate get soaked as much as the next holder of a shrinking 401(k). But I have to side with the Golden Arches on this one. It's not even close.

The nascent move to hold fast-food restaurants responsible for the obesity of their customers is obviously inspired by last decade's crusade against the tobacco industry. Cigarette makers were forced to -- pardon the pun -- cough up billions of dollars to recompense decades of death caused by tobacco. Granted, the states seem to have applied the windfall to every use but the promised one -- healthcare -- but, still, there was a certain logic to the lawyers' argument that Big Tobacco was at fault.

Big Fat is another matter entirely. After all, tobacco companies lied for years, disputing the proven scientific link between using their product and dying early. They also designed that product to be as addictive as crack, so that people who tried to quit found it maddeningly difficult to do so.

By contrast, McDonald's has never pretended it was selling health food. Nor have I ever seen anyone need an arm patch to facilitate their withdrawal from Big Macs.

I also find it hard to believe that a kid who was eating at McDonald's several times a week was dining on steamed fish and brown rice the rest of the time.

So how is it that Mickey D gets tabbed to bear responsibility for making the kid fat? Maybe I'm just the suspicious type, but I'm thinking that nearly $15 billion in annual revenue might have something to do with it.

There is a reeking cynicism to this suit, and while that's galling, what's truly obnoxious is the message it sends to its young plaintiffs, a message that is unfortunately ubiquitous these days.

Namely, that you can do whatever you want and never be held accountable for it. That you can always find somebody to blame.

What happened to those kids, lamentable as it is, happened because they -- and, more important, their parents -- failed to exercise control and moderation. It's their fault. You think they'll ever accept that?

Fat chance.

Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:38 AM
like everything else in society these days... someone else is to blame! ;)

Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:02 AM
A Big Mac with a Super Size Fries and Large Coke totals 1460 calories, with 59 grams of fat. That is an obscene amount.

How do I know this? Because it is in the "Nutritional Information Available On Request" that McDonalds gave me.

Master Lu
Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:07 AM
And now go back over what you ate for this thanksgiving, and I guarantee you you've eaten comparatively higher calorie food.

Ted of Teds Tennis
Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:09 AM
Somebody else is to blame except when the deadly product is mandated by government.

Look at the different tack taken with passenger-side air bags. Here in the States, cars are required by law to have passenger-side airbags, yet when children began to be decapitated by the airbags when parents put their kids in the front seat, the tack taken by government was that the parents should have known better and put the kid in the back seat. Instead of allowing people to buy cars without a passenger-side airbag, Big Government has been kind and generous enough to allow you to get a switch to turn off the passenger-side airbag if you apply to them and can prove you need it.

(Note: I happen to believe one should be able to choose to buy a car without seat belts as well, if one sees fit. The insurance companies probably would de facto disallow it, however, by making insurance rates for such folks prohibitively expensive. Feel free to call me a radical. ;))

Funny how this "personal responsibility" argument doesn't work when the private sector tries it. :mad:

Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:33 AM
thanksgiving? What's that? :p

Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:52 AM
its a ridiculous lawsuit...

Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:35 AM
someone will probably blame the US govt soon for getting sunburnt :o

and they'll probably go to court over it as well :o

Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:38 AM
LOL yeah, lawsuits are the easiest way of earning millions nowadays.:D

Dec 3rd, 2002, 12:37 PM
Parents have to be responsible for what their kids eat, period.

Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:48 PM

Helen Lawson
Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:34 PM
You would have to eat a whole hell of a lot of McDonalds to become 400-500 pounds like some of these losers suing the place. I guess they left out the case that apart from McDonalds once a day, they also hit Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby's and all the rest. One would think when you hit 300 pounds, it is time to switch to the salads or stop going to the place.

Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:38 PM
lol@helen you're so right. :)

nasty nick#2
Dec 3rd, 2002, 04:57 PM
I agree this is pathetic, if a kid is fat it's their parents to responsability to do something about it and i don't mean to sue the place, im talking about Diet! A hella lotta diet :p

some years ago there was a woman that burned herself while drinking Mc Donald's coffea and she sued them cause it was too hot. Come on, if something is to hot why drink so fast?

It's like someone stands in the middle of he road waiting to get hit by a car, and the sues the driver for hitting him. I smell double standards, loads of them :rolleyes:

Helen Lawson
Dec 3rd, 2002, 05:05 PM
I half expected that drunk who ran into Monica Seles and her mother last year to try to sue Seles under some strained theory. I really did expect it!

Colin B
Dec 3rd, 2002, 10:50 PM
A few years ago people here would have sighed and said "Only in America!" but the sad truth is this kind of 'blame culture' is spreading across the Atlantic, so we'll probably have a similar case soon.:rolleyes:

Dec 3rd, 2002, 10:52 PM
Yes, MacDonalds Is Responsible For Making Me Fat! My Girlfriend Manages One!:rolleyes: :p ;)

Dec 4th, 2002, 12:35 AM
Instead of those parents suing McDonalds, Child Proctective Services should be investigating those parents!
Also, I'd like to know if those kids were doing any exercise at all...or were they just sitting on their butts playing Play Station and watching TV all day.
It has to take a helluva lot of effort (or non-effort, I suppose) to weigh 400 pounds at age 15...My God, when I was 15, I was 5'5-1/2" (about 166 cm) tall, and I thought I was fat because I weighted 170 pounds (77 kg)! And that kid weighs more than twice that! :eek: Seriously, that can't happen just by eating Big Macs every day...there has to be other reasons why.

Dec 4th, 2002, 12:59 AM
All this talk of McDonald's is making me hungry for a Big Mac. I like McDonald's, and sometimes, it hits the spot. If you are having a bad day and on the road, it can be a nice experience, and nothing substitutes. But it is what it is, a fast food place that is tasty (sort of), but not good for you, and I always feel like shit after eating it also. It is not a bad place. It sells food, the Waffle House or Denny's is just as bad. Just like the Godiva Chocolate place. It's nice, I like to eat what it has, but I don't eat there daily. I guess if I go to Godiva and pig down a box of truffles twice a day and become fat beast, I can sue Godiva? Isn't that my fault? Who are these people?

Dec 4th, 2002, 01:04 AM
Actually, I do go by to have breakfeast with Cindy! And I do like them better than our poor excuse for a Burger King. But as far as burgers go, I like Wendys better!:lick:

Dec 4th, 2002, 02:32 AM
When I was 15 I was 6'2" and 130 lbs. And I would eat 7 McDonalds cheeseburgers in a single sitting.

Dawn Marie
Dec 4th, 2002, 02:46 AM
LOL at you all.:)

McDonalds rocks!!

Anyone notice the Mcdonalds logo during the WTA Sanex tourney in L.A? It seems the WTA tour love Mcdonalds too!:)

Dec 4th, 2002, 03:00 AM
McDonalds is everywhere, you can't ignore that.:rolleyes:

Dawn Marie
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:22 AM
Mcdonalds doesn't make the kids fat. What makes the kids fat is lack of exercise and a lazy society. Gone are the days of dodge ball until 10:oo at night. Now it is sit in front of tube or play video games and watch videos all day.

Dec 4th, 2002, 03:30 AM
Well Choco, I can tell you why.

The United States has too many lawyers, that are very greedy and want to make money out of anything they can.

McDonalds = big corporation, rich, a lot of money

parents with fat kids = angry, frustrated, wanting to blame someone.

what if you can get some free money by blaming a corporation for your own faults? tempting isn't it? well this is the ideal scenario for a lawyer.

To accuse McDonalds of being reponsible for obesity is so stupid that I have no words to describe it.

But that's not the only example, not even the worst.

Microsoft? the US Government and 19 states sued Microsoft, that costed tax payers million of dollars, and did they achieve? absolutely nothing, but I bet you the lawyers on both sides got their high fees.

The tobacco companies. I smoke, I know it's bad for my health and I do it at my own risk. But some lawyers though this was a good chance, why not to blame the tobacco companies for selling a product that was and is legal? and adult can't tell smoking is bad for health, all smokers in the US were chated by some sinister maffia of greedy companies, blah, blah.

Have you ever wondered why so many politicians are also lawyers? do you find something in common?

The US would be a much better place (and Canada) if Lawyers had less influence.

Dawn Marie
Dec 4th, 2002, 03:33 AM
Agree with Fingon but it is also the law that needs changing. So many stupid ass laws out here that it is idiotic.

Dec 4th, 2002, 03:55 AM
Fingon - I agree with msot of your post, but I dont think suing tobacco companies is the same as suing fast food companies...

TObacco companies knew long bfore the public were aware, that smoking was killing people, they deliberately destroyed this evidence or concealed it...

Kids are taught in primary school that eating a lot of fat and sugar is bad for them, but back in the 70's etc, it was not common knowledge that smoking caused cancer...

This lawsuit is ridiculous, the tobacco class actions were neccessarry...

Dec 5th, 2002, 01:13 AM
Some tobacco suits were necessary, but it has gotten out of control and most recent suits have been ludicrous.