McDonald’s to Experiment With Mini-Gyms

According to the Chicago Tribune, McDonald’s is “getting serious” about childhood obesity.

“It is considering replacing play areas in thousands of its restaurants with kids’ gyms where young customers can burn off their Happy Meals.”

The gyms “would replace the slide-centric PlayPlaces with a setup offering sports-oriented activities such as stationary exercise bikes, rope climbing and other aerobic activities for kids up to 12 years of age.”

Stationary exercise bikes? Does anyone feel like calculating how long it will take your kid to burn off a Big Mac? We’re all ears. —MEGHANN MARCO

McDonald’s trying a new play on PlayPlace
[Chicago Tribune]


Edit Your Comment

  1. joehowe64 says:

    You would have to walk 9.5 miles to burn off a Big Mac and fries.

  2. bluegus32 says:

    Wow. Let’s fix the back end of the problem rather than the front. Instead of going after the cause, let’s try to combat the resulting weight problems from our products.

    Isn’t that like R.J. Reynolds promoting cancer treatment but not encouraging people to quit smoking or not take it up to begin with?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for personal responsibility. Parents are ultimately responsible for their kids’ health and well being. A fat kid is the direct result of parental failures. It certainly isn’t Mcdonalds’ responsibility to parent someone else’s kids.

    But why even pretend like you care? If you really, truly cared about kids’ health and weight, you wouldn’t peddle your product to begin with.

    I don’t know. Just sounds disingenuous to me.

  3. Jim Kosmicki says:

    actually, it’s part and parcel of McDonald’s responding one by one to the specific claims made against them in “SuperSize Me.” one of the points made is that in many urban areas, McDonald’s offers the only safe playground for children. So now they’ll offer a gym instead.

  4. RandomHookup says:

    I find it’s Ben & Jerry’s that is the most socially responsible, especially with its dedicated ‘binge and purge’ rooms.

  5. ckilgore says:

    I don’t live in an urban area, I live in the boonies of central Illinois and in the really freezing, dismal winter days sometimes the Playland is one of the only places to take the kids to burn off some cabin fever. I don’t have obese kids (everything in moderation you know) but having something in the Playland that would help them not be stir crazy in my house is welcome. No matter their ultimate motivation.

  6. NeoteriX says:

    This is how it works to me.

    Step 1: McDonalds initiates bikes program

    Step 2: Parents think, “Oh, that’s fantastic: let’s go to McDonalds instead of Wendys to get lunch because you can also work out. Kid thinks, “Uh huh.”

    Step 3: McDs gets the sale. Kid says, “Bite me” to his parents.

    Step 4: After a while people wise up and the exercise equipment becomes a joke. McDs donates the stuff to a local public school.

    Step 4: Profit.

  7. homerjay says:

    Neo: You forgot “Collect underpants”

    What do kids like better than sliding down curvy slides? Aerobics, of course!

  8. Citron says:

    You burn .049/Kcal per pound per minute biking at 15mph, so a 90 pound child would have to cycle 130 minutes to burn off a big mac without cheese.

  9. Jim K: “actually, it’s part and parcel of McDonald’s responding one by one to the specific claims made against them in “SuperSize Me.” one of the points made is that in many urban areas, McDonald’s offers the only safe playground for children.”

    I thought that was more of an indictment against urban areas and urban violence, not McDonald’s!

    “I live in the boonies of central Illinois”

    And lucky us, we get one of the 7 nationwide “test gyms” in Chillicothe. (Random much?)

    I’m a little tempted to borrow my neighbor’s children and drive them up there to see if the kids like it. Sending 8 year olds running round and round a track isn’t real hard, and some of the stuff for the younger kids sounded basically like “active playground equiptment, but slightly less fun.” I’m suspicious of the teen-focused equiptment, though. But I dunno, you hook a stationary bike up to a video game and lots of kids will ride for ages.

  10. Trai_Dep says:

    Great! Like all we need is nine-year-olds with rock-hard abs and baseball-sized biceps. Don’t they realize that stealing Happy Meal toys from unattended children is difficult enough as IS?!