Monday, May 29, 2006
The essay below appeared in The Chicago Tribune. Leave it to Mickey D’s to create a Global Moms Panel while ignoring the Global Obesity Problem. If the fast feeder really wants to learn how to “better serve the needs of mothers and families worldwide,” it would have been easier for company officials to simply read “Fast Food Nation.” Or the ingredients list of any item on their menu.
Lovin’ the global moms
McDonald’s recently announced the creation of a Global Moms Panel to provide guidance on ways that it can better serve the needs of mothers and families worldwide.
The folks at McDonald’s haven’t exactly spelled out the duties of these moms--from Argentina, China, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Advising the fast food giant on “balanced, active lifestyle initiatives” is how a news release put it. Will this international panel of moms be giving McDonald’s advice on new items for its menu? Moms, after all, are the commanders in chief of many dinner tables and lunchboxes.
If so, McDonald’s may want to determine just what kind of mom it has installed on its panel. Is this the mom of our childhood, the mom of Velveeta and baloney sandwiches on white bread? Or is this more of a free-range organic chicken modern mom? Will she replace the McFlurry with tofu shakes and yank the extra large fries in favor of the extra large bag of carrot sticks?
How much do these moms--or any moms--really know about nutrition? It depends. In many a childhood experience, it was Mom who insisted that we eat our fried liver, which is in no way to be confused with a health food. It was Mom who cooked the life--and vitamins--out of our vegetables. Don’t even get us started on the dreaded meatloaf of uncertain provenance.
This is not to criticize Mom--honest! No one, least of all she, really knew about the potential risks in certain foods then. Now we’re bombarded with information about dietary dangers--some real, some imagined.
Feeding kids healthily isn’t easy. And it isn’t always Mom’s mission. What about global dads in this equation? Not every dad is a beer-guzzling, doughnut-worshiping Homer Simpson. Some of them are overseeing the care and particularly the feeding of their children with admirable hawkishness, deflecting demands for candy or cookies with offers of fruit or other healthier snacks. (What’s that? Laughter?)
Yes, the siren song of fast food and junk food, of grease and salt and fat, is loud and often irresistible. Many moms and dads fight those battles every day; more healthy choices at places like McDonald’s can only help.
So we wish the global moms well. We’ll be awaiting their insights into nutrition and whether they’ll provide some tips on, say, how to entice their kids into ordering the occasional salad instead of the burger. First, however, we'd like to know the moms’ stance on the critical issue of fried liver.