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McDonald's UK CEO Blames Video Games for Childhood Obesity

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the fat-and-mean dept.

Games 321

BoingBoing is reporting that Steve Eaterbrook, McDonald's UK CEO, says that video games are leading the charge in obesity. He does have the decency to at least admit fatty foods are a part of the problem, but points the finger at interactive games for keeping kids indoors and not out burning off energy. "According to The Times, McDonalds UK is 'on the brink of its best year for two decades'. The firm has enjoyed six per cent like-for-like sales growth in the last year. More than 88 million visits were made to McDonald's restaurants last month, up 10 million on the previous year." Don't forget, we have known for ages that video games make us fat and mean.

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321 comments

The Layer Cake of Disappointment (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002468)

We have a problem with obesity--increasingly with children.

Disappointment Level One: Someone, somewhere decided that it is one single factor contributing to this, not a combination. Blame is absolute and illogically must be placed on one thing.

Disappointment Level Two: The media reinforces Lvl 1 idea and is on a witch hunt.

Disappointment Level Three: Each alleged witch further exacerbates by shifting blame to another witch, none of them ever admitting to being part of the problem. Once a new target is acquired, they escape the public eye.

Disappointment Level Four: Lvls 1-3 act as a free pass to parents. There are so many witches to point at, surely nothing they have done resulted in this. Again, no responsibility is taken.

And all the while, we're setting ourselves up for a diabetes explosion [time.com]. Although many have claimed it's been on the horizon for a long time, the numbers are starting to creep. Enjoy eating through all four layers of that cake!

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (4, Informative)

TeknoDragon (17295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002678)

It's almost like Easterbrook said in the original article [timesonline.co.uk]:

"I don't know who is to blame," Mr Easterbrook says. "The issue of obesity is complex and is absolutely one our society is facing, there's no denial about that, but if you break it down I think there's an education piece: how can we better communicate to individuals the importance of a balanced diet and taking care of themselves? Then there's a lifestyle element: there's fewer green spaces and kids are sat home playing computer games on the TV when in the past they'd have been burning off energy outside.

"The Government has a part to play, individuals have a responsibility and so does the food and drink industry. These are the three pillars that need to work together and demonstrate that they have a commitment to solving the issue. We're front and centre of the diet piece of the debate and, as a large business with a big influence, it is a responsibility that we accept as a leader in our sector."

Government responsibility, individual responsibility, industry responsibility have to be in sync to solve the issue.

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (4, Informative)

JeepFanatic (993244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003106)

In the case of children, you also have to include PARENTAL responsibility.

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002900)

And thus is the apparent flow of civilization. You never see fat children in post-apocalyptic stories do you.

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22002960)

MMMMmmm Cake -Homer

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (3, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003082)

I read your entire post and it's well thought out and interesting.

But, I have to admit, I sort of wanted some cake to go with it. And maybe a tall glass of whole milk. Duh, of course there should be chocolate syrup in the milk.

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003138)

Disappointment Level Four: Lvls 1-3 act as a free pass to parents. There are so many witches to point at, surely nothing they have done resulted in this. Again, no responsibility is taken.
Well, as the parent of a future obese child, as long as I am not held responsible for poor parenting my child, I'm OK with passing the blame to video games.

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003154)

Reminds me of a George Carlin act I was listening to. When the kids turn out good, they take all the credit. When the kids turn out bad, they put the blame on something else, like rock music, video games, fast food, or whatever the evil-du-jour is. I'm a parent, and I know how hard it is to raise kids, but I believe that how my kid turns out has a lot to do with how good I am at being a parent. I had video games, rock music, and fast food when I was a kid, but that doesn't mean I didn't turn out well.

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22003158)

We regret to inform you that it is not necessary to read this post. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
-
The cake is a lie!

Re:The Layer Cake of Disappointment (0, Troll)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003242)

Nice attempt at trying to make a hip, John Katz-like post, while ignoring or trying to obfuscate the issue that PS3/360/Wii and parent's tolerance of these console babysitters is contributing obesity in the US and elsewhere. .

By that logic.... (4, Insightful)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002500)

does fast food cause violence?

Re:By that logic.... (5, Funny)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002536)

Violent diarrhea maybe...

Re:By that logic.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22002750)

Violent diarrhea maybe...
But in my experience, it doesn't stop at violent diarrhea, there are several more types caused by fast food:
  • Explosive
  • Projectile
  • Neverending
  • Reverse
  • Liquid
  • Instant
  • Presidential
  • Quad Core

Re:By that logic.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003360)

# Presidential

Hey now.... turd sandwich is clearly the most qualified candidate to lead our country. You take that back right now!

Re:By that logic.... (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002722)

does fast food cause violence?

Only to the guy sitting next to them in the Quake match as they try to reach over for the his fries and accidentally roll over him out of their chair.

Re:By that logic.... (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002984)

It does when it's 1 minute past breakfast and I'm trying to get an egg McMuffin.

Helmet Society (4, Insightful)

Aeonite (263338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002510)

As I said on this site [kotaku.com]:

There's a lot to be said for this, but I think the finger should be pointed past the video games and towards an overprotective and overly litigious society.

When I was growing up we had our Nintendos and Segas and Ataris and Intellivisions and Apple IIe computers, but we only played around with those for a few hours, and then we'd go outside and play baseball or football or street hockey, or merely ride our bikes around the neighborhood for a few more hours.

But nowadays it seems like everyone is scared to get up out of their chair. Are you going to ride a bike? Better wear a helmet, get some reflectors, ride with a friend, attach a siren, etc. Going to play street hockey? Better wear a helmet and a bunch of pads and secure the services of a lawyer so you can sue the first person who body checks you into a parked car. Going for a walk? Better rethink that - you might get abducted by a stranger. Gym class? Recess? Are you mad? You might fall and skin a knee.

We didn't take precautions when we played when I was growing up. And you know what? We survived. We did amazing crazy things. We played tackle football in the street. We threw rocks at each other. And no matter what we did we didn't wear helmets. And the worst that came from all of it is one of my friends got a broken arm once.

I think we need more Nietzsche and less nurture. "That which does not kill me makes me stronger." Because that which does not make me stronger is killing me.

Re:Helmet Society (4, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002624)

According to this study [bbc.co.uk], activity levels for children stay the same no matter what they're forced to do, ie if they're not active at home they'll be active at school and vice versa. A child will be active no matter what they do for play. My little brother and his friends start to get overly energetic when they play video games for too long, and then they quit and run around for a while. It should also be mentioned that this same brother plays video games more than anyone I know, and he's also skinnier than average.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002642)

We live in a society that enjoys violence vicariously through our entertainments (and yes, that includes the nightly news with its stories of sex and gore), but are in many ways a cowardly society. We've scared ourselves and our kids inside our houses because our media has given us a distorted view of the dangers. You'd think there were child predators on every street corner, that every park was populated by rapists and murderers. People have no sense of proportion any more.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002718)

Well said. It's become such a pain for kids to go outside and do any exercises now, most figure why bother. We did some really crazy stuff as kids and, looking back, I'm surprised no one drowned. But somehow we all managed to survive. I think my childhood was a bit extreme (we were doing todays 'extreme' sports when they weren't even consider sports...) though and the normal bike riding, football/baseball/basketball playing kids should be able to play outside without being armored up.

I've mentioned this before and then all the 'wearing helmets when riding a bicycle 2 blocks saves xxx number of kids per year.' Well a lot of people fall in the shower, hit their head, and die every year too. Should we just wear helmets all the time?

Re:Helmet Society (2, Funny)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002870)

luckly i had a metal plate installed in my skull as a child due to a birth defect (still sets off good metal detectors). i consider my self quite hard headed.. there for screw helmets for me..

p.s. if i crack my skull open take some pictures and show them to me later - i want to see what the plate looks like..

Re:Helmet Society (0, Redundant)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003102)

Well said. It's become such a pain for kids to go outside and do any exercises now, most figure why bother. We did some really crazy stuff as kids and, looking back, I'm surprised no one drowned. But somehow we all managed to survive.

Millions of people a day drive without seatbelts and live to tell about it. Therefore, seatbelts are totally unnecessary. QEH.

(QEB = "quod erat handwavandum")

Re:Helmet Society (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003234)

Of course this is anecdotal, but my grandfather is only alive today b/c he WASN'T wearing a seatbelt when he got in a wreck. A dump truck ran a stop sign and plowed into the driver side of his car. If he hadn't been thrown out, he would've been killed. Of course this sort of thing is a statistical anomaly until it's someone you know.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003426)

Yeah, but I also know TONS of people who claim anecdotally that it's better they weren't wearing a seatbeat. In my backwards ass locale (rural SC) they're largely seen as negative. I had a cousin and a friend (who was another cousin's husband) get into a wreck responding to a small fire (they were first responders with the fire department). Both were thrown out of the vehicle. My cousin got pretty beat up but was out of the hospital less than a day later. Other guy had the truck roll over him. Had to be air lifted out. He flat lined 3 times in the ER, being revived each time. Was in the hospital for a very long time but he eventually made a full recovery.

Most everyone's response at this? "If they'd have been wearing those seatbelts they'd be dead for sure.". The reality, looking at the wreck, is that if they'd have been wearing their seatbelts I doubt either would have been seriously injured. Having seen this same story play out NUMEROUS times, I can't say that I'm too trusting when ANYBODY says they know someone who was saved only because they were not wearing a seatbelt. It's just reached urban legend status for me.

On the other hand, despite my fervent belief that they are a wonderful thing and that everyone should wear them (I never drive without one on), it's still my belief that it's a personal choice and should not be a LAW. If a person wants to do something dangerous then that's their business. A whole hell of a lot more things are dangerous and not illegal.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003442)

Same deal with a guy I knew in high school on a bike. He got hit by a car while crossing the road on it and the doctor told him that he probably would have been hurt more. Though this summer I flipped my bicycle and ending up breaking my elbow. I had scrapes on my helmet that would have been scrapes on my head...

There's always going to be exceptions to the rule.

Re:Helmet Society (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002926)

We didn't take precautions when we played when I was growing up. And you know what? We survived. We did amazing crazy things. We played tackle football in the street. We threw rocks at each other. And no matter what we did we didn't wear helmets. And the worst that came from all of it is one of my friends got a broken arm once.

I have a friend that just recently had his fourth child (they are all 5 and under) and he said to me, "I need to buy a farm. I can't allow my children to do what I was able to do -- like ride my bike all over town." I asked, "why not?" Now, I want to mention that I wasn't allowed out of sight of my house on a bike until I was probably 12 and even then I had to be within earshot and 5 minutes of my father's whistle (which had quite a range). His reply, "They can't be trusted."

So it has nothing to do with litigious society, etc, it has to do with parents realizing what they got away with as kids (surviving, yes) and attempting to stop it for their children. What these people don't realize is that kids are still going to get hurt, get abducted, steal shit, fuck, drink and do drugs. All that's going to happen is that they are going to find ways that we didn't think of to get it done.

Back on topic:

While what McDonald's UK douche says is true, it's also very true that the "Fast Food Nation" (sponsored heartily by communities like the one I live in where the little guy is ignored while the big box and chain restaurants are encouraged to thrive by the Council) is also killing us. I've read several books like Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally [amazon.com] and similarly Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life [amazon.com] which mention the advantages of local eating, home cooking, and healthy lifestyles. I'm really going to attempt to get into Community Supported Agriculture [localharvest.org], get out to our local farmers' market more than 1x a month, and stop eating out nearly as much as I was.

We've traded dangers from biking without a helmet, pads and an orange flag with blinking LEDs to eating foods with 50% of your daily need of fat, 75% of your calories and loaded with high fructose corn syrup. One might take 15 to 20 years to kill you rather than 15 to 20 seconds but we need to decide which is better.

Happy Meals need to be replaced with Happy Medium.

Re:Helmet Society (4, Interesting)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002936)

I've been noticing for years the trend of "wussifying" our youth. You're right, when we were kids (I'm in my mid-30s), I played in ditches, played soccer, got beat-up by the neighborhood bully, rode bikes on the trails and make "jumps", played lots of hide and go seek or kick the can, we ran home from school, ran down the street, just being kids.

You know what ruined it for me?

Air Conditioning. Cheap electricity, Central A/C, and summers just got too hot to bother going out in. Heating in the winter made going out in it too cold, nevermind our forebears survived quite handily. A couple years ago, I started an experiment. I quit using the A/C except for when I was expecting company. I opened up my windows, turned on a fan to circulate the air, and wouldn't you know it? I was hot, but after a couple weeks, I got used to it. Walking into an office building felt like I was walking into a meat freezer. My electricity bill halved, if not more. I was amazed. I went out for walks more. I lost 30 pounds that summer, because it was no longer "too hot" to go outside.

SO, I don't think it's video games, for sure. Video games are just what you do when it's too hot to go outside, and it becomes a habit. Turn off your a/c, let your athlon crank your room to 120 degrees, and you'll *want* to go do something else for awhile. :)

Re:Helmet Society (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002976)

You have some good points, but to be fair when I(and probably you) was a kid the "SUV" with its huge bulky mass, very poor handling/braking distance, and gigantic blind spots that drivers pretend don't exist, were incredibly rare. Not to mention that the drivers of those smaller cars were not distracted by yapping on a cell phone while driving. Hell, even as an adult and an avid(and helmet wearing) cyclist, SUVs scare the shit out of me. The sooner they are banned the sooner kids can go play out on the street more safely.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002978)

I know I think of the crap we pulled as kids behind our parents backs (and even with our parents watching). And all I can think now is "Damn, someone's going to call social services on my ass and get me arrested and my children taken away" It's not that the toys/games are getting more advanced and more engaging... It's that that rusty piece of metal in the dirt is now seen as something that will kill you instead of the sword that slays the dragon (read: younger sibling). In our quest to "think of the children" we're shot ourselves in the foot because you can't run around too much in a plastic bubble.

Re:Helmet Society (0, Redundant)

localman (111171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003064)

But nowadays it seems like everyone is scared to get up out of their chair.

This is so apparent to me too... I don't have kids yet, so what do I know, but the level of fear I see in others is amazing. Everyone child-proofs their house and runs around protecting their kid. My terrible mother (note sarcasm) had no child-proofing to speak of and let me pretty much monitor myself for periods of time even before the age of four. Generally I played with blocks and toy cars. But once I remember I played with a electrical plug, got zapped, bawled, and respected electricity henceforth.

I distinctly remembered being allowed, before age four, to go outside on my own (we lived on a fairly quiet city street) to friends houses. We'd play on the porch. Or at their place. Adults seemed to assume we were fine unless we notified them otherwise.

At four we moved to a quieter town where I learned to ride a bike and my friends and I would be off for hours by ourselves. We used to intentionally crash our bikes into each other to try and knock each other off: sort of like jousting without lances. Sometimes we'd get cut up and bruised. And it just wasn't a big deal. I don't recall my parents ever trying to prevent me from minor injuries by limiting what I could do.

Compared to what I see and hear today, it would appear my parents, and my friends parents were absolutely insane. Is the world actually that much more dangerous today? I tend to doubt it. I hope I can maintain a level of freedom for my kids to experience life. I hope that when they inevitably hurt themselves and get stitches (like I did) that I don't subsequently deny them freedom.

Cheers.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003142)

...and with good reason. If your child is hurt you run the risk of losing them to the state or being thrown in jail.

Re:Helmet Society (1, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003186)

When I was a kid, we didn't have the creeps we have today roaming around preying upon children. Don't get me wrong, there were creeps back then, but they were held in check by society.

Case in point, if creepy dude back then made unseemly remarks or advances upon a kid, 9 times out of 10, the dad would march over creepy dudes house and punch the guy in the nose until he was a bloody pulp. Police and courts weren't involved and the creepy dude was held in check.

Today, if that happened, creepy dude would walk away knowing that 1/2 the time there is no dad, and even if there was a dad, the dad wouldn't and couldn't punch him in the nose, and if the dad did that, dad would end up arrested, in front of a judge and then in jail, while the creepy dude remains free to molest more kids.

Okay, so there is a tad over simplification here.

I'm of the opinion that creepy dudes are also more prevalent today because of access to creepy dude material is much easier to come by.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003268)

Similarly, I remember going to school by myself since first grade (~7 years old); had to use public transportation. I dunno what changed, but I hardly know of anyone sending their kids by themselves at that age---what's with this "school bus" business? That's just silly!

Either the society got screwed up, kids got dumber, or something is very wrong with the current generation of kids.

Re:Helmet Society (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003306)

We didn't take precautions when we played when I was growing up. And you know what? We survived.

Well, the ones that survived did, at least.

We don't talk much about the boy who became a vegetable because he wasn't wearing a helmet and cracked his head open, or the girl who disappeared walking home from a friend's house and whose body was found in the woods a week later...

A bit hypocritical? (3, Insightful)

Joe Random (777564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002598)

So McDonald's emphasizes personal responsibility when it involves what people eat, but not when it involves their recreational activities?

What's in a name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22002608)

Is this guy really called 'Eaterbrook'?

In related news (5, Funny)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002612)

1) Philip Morris say video games are promoting smoking among children.

2) KKK Grand Wizard says video games are making children racist.

3) Exxon-Mobil says video games make children averse to renewable energy.

4) McDonald's CEO is a peen.

Video Game makers blame McDonalds for bad games (4, Funny)

neo (4625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002622)

In a statement made by the United Video Game Designers of the UK, stated ...

"Clearly our reliance on fast food, particularly McDonald's, has caused us to become unimaginative and lackluster in our new game designs. By buying initially from the value menu and then going to super sized items we have replicated this trained up-sell response in our own games. We haven't made an original game since Doom. We even tried watching Super Size Me 10 times, but that only made one designer go completely mad and make a copy of Burger Time. We can only hope that McDonald's changes the way they sell food items so that we can again create new and innovative games that people around the world will become lethargic blobs of goo playing. Thank you."

Yes but... (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002656)

Yes, you can get fat if you stay home just playing and eating. But this don't make McDonald's less guilty.

Re:Yes but... (2, Interesting)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003218)

Guilty of what? If McDonalds sold nothing but "healthy" foods starting tomorrow, they would be out of business within a couple of months - if that long. Restaurants that sell what people aren't interested in eating don't stay around long. If people were truly interested in eating better, restaurants would notice this and change their menus. Society as a whole will have to change first.

Not only that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22002658)

It is also a well documented and scientifically proven fact that video games also cause AIDS. But seriously, when was the last time a CEO knew anything about anything (besides, of course, the fine art of scapegoating)? I can just see this guy with his thumbs up his ass and one day saying, 'Its not fatty foods that make people fat, its video games.' Yeah, the nutritional label on the back of GTA says that 1 serving has 1500 calories. Eat McDonalds, not GTA!

Re:Not only that (4, Funny)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002908)

Actually, seeing as AIDS (or rather HIV) is a sexually transmitted disease I'd say videogames are doing a great deal to fight AIDS.

Slashdot, of course, does far more.

What does he blame for other kinds of obesity? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002660)

We recently heard about a very obese black hole [slashdot.org]. Who gets the blame for that?

That's as stupid as Blaming McDonalds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22002728)

Subject pretty much says it all.

Except that he is right in part. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002758)

There are lots of things causing the problem.
Blaming McDonald's is kind of silly. Don't raise your kids on a diet of McDonald's. It is supposed to be a treat and not a diet.
You feed your kids the big breakfast at IHOP the same thing will happen. Again it is supposed to be a treat and not a diet.
Letting your kids play video games for hours on end. Also not a good plan.
Letting them sit in front of the TV is also not a good plan.
Frankly I am amazed at the amount of passive entertainment we have available to all of us. With NetFlix, PVP, PVRs, Cable, Video Games, and the Internet there is always something worth while to watch or read or play.
A kid today doesn't need to find something to entertain themselves with.
Combine that with traffic today and all the fears over safety, and both parents working kids are often raised on a diet of video and fast food. It isn't bread and circuses it is Burgers and Playstations.
I have noticed that McDonald's is offering some better choices on the menu as well.
So don't dismiss video games just because you like them.

BTW if you don't think the techie life style contributes to the problem take a look around your office.

Re:Except that he is right in part. (3, Insightful)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003066)

> Blaming McDonald's is kind of silly. Don't raise your kids on a diet of McDonald's. It is supposed to be a treat and not a diet.

Actually you can blame them for marketing. It is a known fact that marketing affects people and they market a lot. Their marketing is directly connected to the amount of fast food people buy. If it wouldn't be, they wouldn't do the marketing as that wouldn't be worth of it.

Re:Except that he is right in part. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003266)

"Actually you can blame them for marketing. It is a known fact that marketing affects people and they market a lot."
And that doesn't apply to video games?????

Re:Except that he is right in part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22003108)

Don't know which "better choices" you are referring to, but if you saw Super Size Me, you will have seen how their "healthy" salads were hardly healthy at all.

Re:Except that he is right in part. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003310)

They offer apple slices instead of fries and milk instead of soda for happy meals now.
Is it great for you? No.
But then they are not twisting your arm to buy it.

Re:Except that he is right in part. (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003316)

Blaming McDonald's is kind of silly. Don't raise your kids on a diet of McDonald's. It is supposed to be a treat and not a diet.
McDonald's actually says this when questioned about it. However that is NOT how they market themselves. In fact they even market themselves as health food now. You may even believe it by how they market but their Chicken Selects Premium Breasts Strips just made the list of the 10 WORST FOODS: Foods You Should Never Eat [cspinet.org]. The point is the more McDonald's panders to the healthy food advocates, the more they stay the same. They manufacture their foods to develop pshycological dependancy. The combination of artificial flavors and bucketloads of sodium in the chicken strips is just one example. The craploads of Trans Fat in their Fries is another example.

Rolling Up Obesity (1)

dprust (316840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002776)

This explains a lot! I roll up burgers and frieds a lot in Katamari Damacy games. I had no idea it was going straight to my waist!!!

Korea and Japan (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002806)

Ooops. Forgot the fact that the two most videogame obsessed countries don't have obesity problems.

Doh!

Being a larger guy... (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002818)

Being a larger guy myself I'd put it down to a number of factors including:
- Eating too fast
- Forgeting to enjoy food (fat people enjoy their food less than thin people while eating it)
- Very concentrated sugar / fat foods (e.g. Soft Drinks, Burgers)
- Society encourages us to stay home (Safer, Entertainment, and for Computer Geeks even work-useful activities like coding)
- Very little "good" help available (Doctors throwing pills, diets selling useless books, but nobody wants to give good advice except perhaps Paul Mckenna and a couple of others)

I wouldn't pin it down to Games or any other single form of entertainment. Well except perhaps World of Warcraft but that is a different kind of crack within its self. ;-)

Who's To Blame? (2, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002860)

While McDonald's blames video games on the obesity trend, let's not forget the millions of Americans who work in physically inactive jobs for many hours per week, come home to eat a full dinner (while skimping on more important meals, like Breakfast) and then finish it off by watching a good amount of TV. Never mind the lack of (or committment to) exercise, eating healthier (which isn't as important as exercise) or even trying to be active.

When one sees public service announcements telling people to play at least ONE HOUR a day, then I think we know where a lot of the blame can be shifted. Ironically enough, in my mind it wouldn't be fast food...

Experiment (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002882)

Okay, I'm going home, and I will play video games nonstop for a month. Someone else about 5'10" and 200lbs needs to go to McDonalds and eat Big Macs nonstop for a month. Someone else needs to get us federal grants for obesity research so I can get paid to play video games all month, and to cover that other poor fat bastard's Big Macs. Then at the end of the month, we'll see who gained more weight.

Advertise to those gamers! (1)

Demon10000 (566536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002898)

A few months ago I downloaded Prince of Persia: Sands of Time from some game site. It was some trial that Ubisoft was doing where they were putting advertisements into games. Interestingly enough, the only advertisement I ever saw was for McDonalds.

There are many causes (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002902)

1. Fructose and corn syrup

2. Paranoid and over protective parents not letting their kids play outside

3. Lazy parents buying ready meals and junk food

4. Lack of room in the school timetable for PE (physical exercise)

5. Computer games (parents should limit this)

6. Film and TV programme tie-ins with McDonalds and sugary foods such as cereals

7. Kids being driven to school

For the Win! (3, Funny)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002944)

ScuttleMonkey wins the prize for Freudian Typo of the Day:

...Steve Eaterbrook, McDonald's UK CEO...

Fair's fair (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002968)

I'll accept that video games are the sole reason we're getting fatter -- if McDonalds accepts that fast food is making us violent. It seems just as logical to me.

Personally, I know why I'm fat (although I'm currently working on that problem [fourmilab.ch]). Soft drinks, pure and simple. I used to consume at least 1,000kcal/day of the stuff. At 3500kcal/lb, that adds up fast!

At least I don't smoke -- but as a soda addict, I do sympathize with smokers. It's hard to give up (or even cut back on) something you really enjoy.

Hmmmmm (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22002998)

So eating a pair of syrup soaked muffin shaped pancakes with a wedge of sausage crammed between doesn't make you fat but consumer electronics will?

Re:Hmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22003340)

I don't know how they can call that runny brown abomination they cover the biscuit cakes with, "syrup," except in the sense that it's marginally thicker than water.

Go with the real stuff. It's sweeter, more flavorful, and thick. You'll use less and enjoy it more and it won't get all over everything in a gunky, sticky, mess.

If only... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003006)

If only there were some sort of activity that is possibly known to combat obesity? Obviously not a diet or anything...

BOOKS! (3, Funny)

emeri1md (935883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003008)

It's the books! The books are making us fat. Damn those kids and their eight hour reading marathons! They need to go outside and get in trouble like normal kids! That'll get rid of the problem.

I know how to correct this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22003024)

We must...like...eat less food or something...

I play videogames all the time and my figure is utterly ganglian, QED

Not one cause, but (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003046)

This makes some sense as those who are now teenager are the first generation that have raised totally in front of the video games, and whose parent probably were raised in from of video games. This means that they probably were likely to sit in front of a video game with the parent rather than work or play outside. The fact that some of these teenagers may be heavier may be in part due to the fact that sitting in front of the computer is much more sendentary than previous generations.

OTOH, everyone over 40 was pretty much raised in front of the TV, and though it is probably easier to kick a kid out the house to go and play in the garden when the kid is watching TV, the fact is that many kids spent 40 hours a week in front of the TV, doing nothing buy drinking cokes and eating chips.

But here is something that has changed in the past 15 years. foodstuff, be it frozen dinners, McDonald's or whatever, is considered acceptable food, and more importantly it the only cheap sustenance that some families know how to eat. How many families will make pancakes, or casseroles, or a bunch or rice and beans. Sure one may say that there is no time to cook, or that such food is more expensive, but that just is a matter of priorities. If one does not know who to make dinner in a hour, or does not put down the video, then dinner will not get made and bad cheap food will be eaten instead.

Which is why I believe the problem is fast food. When I was a kid fast food was expensive. One did not see kids spending $2 for a snack at McDonalds, because $2 was hard to get. Now it seems that almost all kids, no matter how poor the family appears to be, has money to go to McDonalds, where the get calories but no nutrition. And then a school, where they are supposed to get the nutrition, the fast food concerns have bribed government officials so the kids again can get calories, but no nutrition. So hopefully at home they will be forced to eat some decent food. But in the process they have eaten 4000 calories, but only gotten 50% of the nutrition they need. Honestly if the fast food would supply 100% of the calories and 100% of the nutrition, that would be great. But it seems they supply 200% of the calories and a small fraction of the nutrition. Now that fast pseudo food is considered food, that is a unsustainable condition.

Video Games != Obesity (3, Insightful)

Daveznet (789744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003050)

I don't know how he can say that video games leads to obesity. South Koreans probably play the most video games out of any nationality. A big portion of their economy is based on it. They have pro-gamers that practice 10+ hours a day and the last time I saw none of them were obese.

World of Warcraft (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003124)

My friend asked me how he could lose weight. Hes over 300 pounds an hes only 21, I told him he needs to make some lifestyle changes. For one I told him to play less WoW and start being more active, of course he didn't want to give up his precious WoW over his health. Now whenever I go over to his house, hes sitting there playing WoW with a bag of potato chips.

Its not completely video games fault but its definitely a key contributor and it doesn't help that its contributing to the problem at an early age. And to those that say they grew up playing video games and their still healthy, that can happen, if you watch Super Size Me theres a man in that film that ate over 10,000 big macs in his life time and looks completely fine. Some people can get away with it, but the majority cant.

When it comes down to it. Theres two key factors, lifestyle and respect. You cant expect the problem to go away with changing your lifestyle and learning to respect your body.

Keys lipid hypothesis is dead... (2, Interesting)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003136)

...long live the carbohydrates theory.

Keys lipid hypothesis is dead... scientist are fleeing it like rats from a sinking ship. The media just hasn't caught up yet.

The truly frightening thing is that the diet that US and Canadian governments have been recommending over that last 30 years is pretty much the same thing that we use to fatten cattle up for slaughter.

NOT potkettleblack (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22003148)

Both are white. Both are wrong.

Barring certain metabolic syndromes, it is the choices that people make that are responsible for obesity.

I play video games. I eat at toadburgers. I have a decent BMI. I exercise. I practice moderation.

The "fast food nation" folks are hardly any better than Jack Thomspon's lot.

Different Viewpoint (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003170)

I'm not totally disagreeing with what he said. I think there are elements here that may actually lead to obesity. I know personally when I'm sitting there playing a video gaming I'm usually eating some kind of snack or whatnot. Whatever the case, I would think for one second this guy might actually realize his firms role in the problem and not pass the buck off.

IDIOTS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22003216)

It's not the fat, it's the CARBS !!

Play at a friend's house once in a while. (1)

mathletics (1033070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003232)

I'm 22 and have good genes, but I ride my bike to a friend's house to play co-op Guitar Hero. That's two 20-minute aerobic sessions per day, and I spend several hours playing video games. When I was a kid, we'd ride to the house of whoever's mom would let them have Mortal Kombat. Point being, there's no reason that kids can't play a seemingly unhealthy amount of video games while still getting some exercise.

Carrot or stick? (1)

Shuntros (1059306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003238)

How about putting Xenical (drug which prevents the body from absorbing fat) in fatty foods? Once the burger-loving youngsters have soiled themselves in the presence of their peers once or twice they'll be screaming for fruit and veg! I tried one once as an experiment, went out for a curry, woke up the next day and tried to slip a discreet fart out - bad idea.

It really comes down to the parenting and parents (1)

Colin E. McDonald (837162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003262)

Kids are going to do what their parents do. If they are over-consuming then more than likely their parents are as well.
IMO, a major problem with the overweight issue in society is that food is used to fill missing holes, mostly those of a
spiritual and pyschological nature. It is also about the time that is spent in actually eating the food. I got in the bad
habit of wolfing down every meal after I went through Army Infantry basic back in 90 and over the years the calorie burning
fell off but the eating habits didn't. It takes a lot of work to break that kind of habit. A lot of people basically eat too fast
and don't give their systems time enough to deactivate the hunger signals.

It is up to parents to monitor the kid's habits and to guide them in healthy and positive ways (as well as leading by example, which is the most important)
which include all aspects of their existence. Sticking kid's in front of television to keep them busy while they are toddlers usually
ends up developing a kid that has a need to watch tv all the time and I think without moderation of virtual environments you develop kids
that can't function well in non-vr or projected environments. I think that this is the reason for so many kids being prescribed Adderal and Ritalin
in order to keep them "calm". I think the most important way to handle these issues (too much immersion in video based play or watching, overeating and
the inability to function in group environments) is through guidance and moderation. It will take a holistic approach that I believe should include
meditation and quiet time for introspection without the constant onslaught of our media saturated world. I also think that kids have to be shown how important
exercise and outdoor/nature play is to a healthy mind and body.

But who Cares? (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003308)

McDonald's UK CEO Blames Video Games for Childhood Obesity
I have no indication that the CEO of McDonald's is an obesity scientist.
I suppose he's thinking that since he has the title of CEO that there is some credibility to anything he says. I suppose there is for quite a lot of people.
It's sad.

I'm running out of tinfoil.

Next: Tobacco companies will use the same logic (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003328)

By the same logic, tobacco companies will argue that people who play video games are more likely to stay indoors, where second-hand smoke is concentrated, rather than spending their time outdoors.

Fucktards.

In his defense... (1)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003350)

I have noticed that compter techs have an average higher rate of beer belly's than for example, the rest of the world. I know my ass gets more than its fair share of sitting in one day, but that doesn't keep me from going to the gym every once in a while so i don't look like Cartman from the WoW episode.

I think the oompa loompas said it best, "who do you think's to blame? the mother and the father."

It's McDonald's Fault Kids Are Fat (1)

TrollMaster 9000 (957590) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003378)

Ever since the evil Chimpy McBushitler declared all children under the age of 16 eat Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese twice a day the children of this nation have had NO chance!

When are we going to stop allowing evil fascist corporations to stuff foods high in fat, sugars, and salt down our children's throats?

Can't the U.N. do something?

It's not rocket science (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003398)

If the calories eaten outweigh the calories burned then weight is gained. Steve Easterbrook is stating the blisteringly obvious, and in doing so completely misses the point.

Increasing obesity levels are not as straight forward as blaming fast food or video games though, there are several other factors:

  • Sport at school: Sport is not a priority in the majority of state schools now. It isn't funded and the teachers don't seem to be as willing to dedicate the time to run afterschool sessions. I'm not blaming teachers here, I'm sure there are reasons. When I was at school there was sport at least three afternoons a week.
  • Quality of food: I don't know if this is the case in the US but I haven't noticed it in other European countries so much - supermarkets sell a lot of really nutritionally crap food at low, low prices. Food shopping is bloody expensive as every parent knows.
  • People don't seem to have a clue how to cook or are too lazy - I mean you can make passatta for a fraction of the price of a prepackaged carton.
  • Fitness facilities are minimal. Although there are council funded gyms, they vary wildly in cost and quality throughtout the UK and perhaps more importantly don't seem to have as many trained staff there to help.
  • Education. If we spent half as much time teaching school kids how to look after their health as we do teaching them the ins and outs of half a dozen different religions that they'll probably never have an epihany for then we could make up for some of the knowledge gaps that many parents seem to have.

When I was a kid (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003400)

I worked at McDonald's. So would eat a quarter pounder or two every day. I also played a lot of video games, and played with computers. But I wasn't fat. Am now, however.

Being captain of the cross country team and also in the marching band probably helped. I think 'social networks' (to include networked video games) are more to blame than just games themselves. It is much harder to pull yourself away from interaction with other people online. It's just so much easier than doing it in real life. It's that need to belong, and being in your element thing. We didn't have those electronics networks when we were younger, so getting away from the computer or game was a lot easier.

Really, communicating online is the addiction here, I think.

Ba da dup dup dah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22003412)

I'm lovin' it.

It's a combination, sure, but... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22003446)

So, we know, or at least should, that to decrease our weight and increase our fitness we need to change the way we eat and exercise more. The more calories we burn in exercise, the more high calorie foods we can eat. But, if we didn't want to work out, we could very easily (if you have will power when it comes to food) maintain our weight by just eating the proper amount and avoiding fast food like McDonalds. So what I am saying is, I can play video games all I want and not become obese as long as I alter what I eat. I won't win any body building contests, but I can stay thin. On the other hand, if I eat only McDonalds food, I will become obese. You don't need large quantities of that stuff to get fat.

The problem is fast food is quick to get and very cheap. It is interesting how in the past, a more plump person was viewed as wealthy since they could afford lots of food with little physical effort. Now we are attracted to people who are thin and our poor population continues to get fatter and fatter.

Can video games be blamed for some people being fat? Possibly, but they could replace that activity with television, the Internet, knitting, playing cards, etc etc with the same result.

Ultimately, there is only really one person to blame in this: the individual. There is no mystery on how people are getting fat. Get out and exercise and stop eating crap. It angers me to see this guy point the finger at gaming though. It is just the popular punching bag of our time. The guy serves some of the least healthy food on the planet and he thinks that if there just wasn't gaming, we'd all be perfect.
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