McDonald’s is synonymous with American fast food. One of the largest chains that has famously and proudly toted “over 1 billion served” globally. Even for the health minded, it’s a guilty pleasure that cannot be denied. But, that is exactly what it has been made out to be in recent years, guilty of being hyper fattening and very unhealthy. Over the past decade the assault on fast food has raged. Parents and obese Americans blamed the unhealthy nature of fast food for all their health problems. For the most part, the claims were true and courts tended to agree.
Nowadays, McDonald’s is aiming to bring higher quality food to its customers. One of the key ways it has done this is by overhauling the long loved Happy Meals. Happy Meals are small meals targeted toward children with the inclusion of a toy or other child friendly product. It’s been around for 3 decades, but when parents demanded something be done about the alarming percentage of obese children, McDonald’s overhauled it. They now include healthy alternatives like apple slices instead of french fries and milk instead of high sugar/caffeine soda.
The toys have always been a staple of the Happy Meals but with the company trying to re-tune their image they’ve begun to offer educational toys. Right on track with the Olympics, they’re now offering fitness trackers in Happy Meals. That’s right, much like the Fitbit or Jawbone McDonald’s is offering a tiny wrist watch type pedometer for children. This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has tried this. Back in 2004, McDonald’s offered a pedometer in adult happy meals as part of their special Go Active! Promotion.
The tracker is called the STEP-it fitness tracker. When the child wears it on their wrist it will blink either slowly or rapidly depending on the vigor of whatever activity they’re doing at the time. McDonald’s said this about the new promotion, “Step-it is in line with McDonald’s general philosophy for Happy Meal toys, which is to make toys that encourage either physical or imagination-based play.” Some say this also coincides with the Olympics because McDonald’s is one of the major sponsors. Soon, nationwide ads on television and YouTube will begin airing and will be available in the US and Canada for about a month.