McDonald's Marketing Cited for Teens' Obesity; Fast-Food Giant Calls Suit 'frivolous'.(NATION)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 10, 2002 | Go to article overview

McDonald's Marketing Cited for Teens' Obesity; Fast-Food Giant Calls Suit 'frivolous'.(NATION)


Byline: Ellen Sorokin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Three teenagers in New York City have filed a class-action lawsuit against McDonald's Corp., saying the fast food chain's food caused them to gain as much as 200 pounds and develop serious health problems including heart disease and diabetes.

The teenagers, whose ages range between 13 and 19, say in court papers that McDonald's inaccurately posted nutritional information and deceptively advertised its products. They also say the restaurant chain used marketing practices such as toy and value meal promotions to entice its patrons to eat the food.

"We feel that the advertising strategies [of quick-service chains] target young children," said Samuel Hirsch, the attorney representing the teenagers. "Toy promotions and Happy Meals are a lethal combination."

Mr. Hirsch said his clients ate at McDonald's almost every day for at least five years. One teenager, who is 5-foot-9-inches tall, now weighs 270 pounds; another, who is 5-foot-3-inches tall, now weighs 200.

The parents of the teenagers, either unemployed or on disability, filed the lawsuit on behalf of their children. The lawsuit seeks undetermined compensatory damages.

McDonald's officials yesterday the lawsuit and others like it make "no sense."

"This is nothing more than a frivolous lawsuit," company spokesman Walt Riker said in a written statement. "Its claims are ridiculous. Common sense tells you that it makes no sense. McDonald's serves quality food. Our menu features choice and variety with lots of options for consumers.

"Meanwhile, McDonald's will continue to do what we've been doing for 30 years: providing industry-leading nutrition information to customers about our menu offerings so that they can make informed choices," the statement reads.

McDonald's announced last week it would introduce a new cooking oil that has lower levels of trans-fatty acids, which have been linked to raising "bad" cholesterol levels.

The latest lawsuit, filed in the New York Supreme Court, comes a month after a New York City man, who has been eating fast food since the 1950s, sued the country's four leading fast-food chains, also blaming the restaurants' fatty fare for his health problems. …

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