Over 500 health organizations across the US have mobilized against McDonald's, saying the fast food giant is peddling poor nutrition to America's children.
If nutrition activists and advocates get their way, Ronald McDonald may soon find himself out of a job, CNN Money reported on Wednesday.
While McDonald's has claimed its marketing practices are responsible, there are concerns among health advocates that the company regularly targets children in its advertising messages.
"Through this initiative, the public health community is rallying behind a simple message to McDonald's: stop making the next generation sick -- retire Ronald and the rest of your junk food marketing to kids," Steven Rothschild, a professor at Rush Medical College, said, according to CNN Money.
The drive to push Ronald McDonald to the unemployment line is being spearheaded by a group known as Corporate Accountability International.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the advocacy group detailed its agenda, announcing a specific accountability initiative against McDonalds that is featured in a dedicated URL, LetterToMcDonalds.org.
In the letter sent to McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner, the group cites broad health concerns, saying: "Today, our private practices, pediatric clinics, and emergency rooms are filled with children suffering from conditions related to the food they eat. In the decades to come, one in three children will develop type 2 diabetes as a result of diets high in McDonald’s-style junk food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This generation may be the first in U.S. history to live shorter lives than their parents."
Corporate Accountability International claims to have active participation from "more than 550 health institutions and professionals" nationwide.
"This initiative has struck a chord, particularly among health professionals who work in the communities most targeted and impacted by McDonald's marketing," Esther Sciammarella, Executive Director of the Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition, stated in the press release. "Children in these communities are not as healthy. Access to healthy food is limited. There is less nutrition education. But we do have more of one thing: McDonald's junk food and junk food marketing. It's time that changed."
However, McDonald's intends to keep Ronald McDonald on its payroll.
"We are committed to responsible advertising and take our communications to children very seriously," McDonald's said in a statement, according to the CNN Money report.