Hackney MP Diane Abbott, who is also Shadow Minister for Public Health, has hit out at plans for the world’s biggest ever McDonalds in the 2012 Olympic Park. The 1500 seat restaurant and the high profile involvement of other fast food companies in the games will discourage healthy eating and add to a child obesity epidemic, she claims.
“‘Plonking the world’s biggest McDonalds in the middle of the Olympics site, with the eyes of the entire world on Britain, gives out completely the wrong message,” she says. “I am calling on the government to review its relationship with the manufacturers and retailers that are damaging our children’s health.”
According to Abbott, almost a quarter of children in the UK are already overweight or obese by the time they start primary school, and more than a third are overweight or obese by the time they leave to start secondary school.
And researchers from Stanford University found that children as young as three years old responded to the familiar McDonalds logo and packaging, saying they preferred the taste of food coming out of McDonald’s bags to the taste of the same food items emerging from plain bags.
‘It is absurd that the government is positioning McDonalds, Coca Cola and Cadbury’s at the forefront of the London Olympics,” Abbott adds. “The government is creating a ticking time bomb with their inaction on public health.”
McDonald’s is to build four restaurants on the Olympic site – two in the Park, one in the Athletes Village, and one in the Media and Press Centre – which will serve over 1.75 million meals during the games.
The Hackney Citizen has worked out that a fit eleven stone adult visitor to the Olympics would need to run ten miles to burn off the 1096 calories contained in a modest McDonalds meal comprising a Big Mac, medium fries and a McFlurry.
A London 2012 spokesperson said there would be a diverse and full-range of other food offerings available to athletes and spectators.