McDonald's Pulls Kids' Fitness Trackers

McDonald's fitness bandsAfter a sizable backlash, McDonald's is pulling fitness trackers for kids. People complained that worrying kids about their weight could cause more problems than good. Brian Cuban, who writes and speaks about his history of an eating disorder and addition, posted the tweet shown here.  This story reminds me of the teen magazine that showed girls what type of bathing suit they should wear for their body type. Brian Cuban tweet

Chicago Tribune noted the "apparent hypocrisy of McDonald's encouraging children to exercise while also serving them high-fat foods":

Indeed, the paradox of a fitness monitor wedged in a Happy Meal box alongside chicken nuggets and french fries is hard to ignore. Even the healthiest Happy Meal combination will have kids ingesting 410 calories and 19 grams of fat, according to the company's online nutrition calculator. That's a lot of steps.

In announcing the decision to pull the bands, a McDonald's spokesperson said the company had received "limited reports of potential skin irritations that may be associated with wearing the band." No mention of the controversy was mentioned.

Discussion Starters:

  • Should McDonald's have been more forthcoming about the controversy? What could have been the positive and negative consequences of admitting the issue about kids' weight? 
  • Articles about the story say that people can distinguish between what companies do for the social good and what companies do for themselves. How does that play into the reaction in this case? Are those goals mutually exclusive?