In a move to help counteract the contribution McDonald’s makes to childhood obesity, the corporate giant made the decision to help young people keep track of their steps by including fitness trackers in their Happy Meals. The watch-style wearable came in 6 different colors and was meant as a fun way to help children keep track of their physical activity. However, due to recent concerns of skin irritation, the Step It, as it was dubbed, will no longer be included in Happy Meals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 18% of children ages 6 to 11 are classified as overweight. Obese youth, according to the CDC, have a 70% higher risk of a cardiovascular event than their thinner peers. The obesity epidemic we’re seeing is largely in part due to the imbalance of calories kids are burning versus consuming (and much of this consumption is junk food, lacking nutrition).

McDonald’s, the fast food chain that is often criticized for its calorie- and saturated fat-laden meals (among other questionable ingredients), decided to try and do something to counteract its influence over childhood obesity by including the Step It trackers that help children count their steps and blink depending on how fast the child is moving. However, the plan seems to have backfired and the Step Its, which once seemed like a great idea, are now voluntarily recalled by McDonald’s.

Although these activity trackers were meant to be both a marketing push for the Golden Arches and a way to get kids involved in and excited about the Olympic games, they have been voluntarily recalled over the concern that they might irritate children’s skin.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said in a statement:

“We have taken this swift and voluntary step after receiving limited reports of potential skin irritations that may be associated from wearing the band. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and we are fully investigating this issue.”

The company has stated that they are “fully investigating the issue.” [2]

While it is unclear what the source for the irritation on children’s skin is, McDonald’s has decided it is best to withdraw the “toy” until further considerations can be made. Perhaps looking to McDonald’s isn’t the best way to improve a child’s fitness.

The move is another step McDonald’s is taking to revamp its public image, coming after the company announced numerous positive changes its making to its food menu items.

Sources:

[1] USA Today

[2] Associated Press


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Post written byAnna Scanlon:
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.