McDonald’s Is Heading to School Gym Classes

By Vaishali Honawar — September 20, 2005 1 min read

The purveyor of 700-calorie Happy Meals for children has joined the battle against childhood obesity.

As many as 31,000 public schools around the country, enrolling as many as 7 million students, will join with the McDonald’s Corp. this school year to try out the fast-food giant’s new Passport to Play program during their physical education classes.

The program uses playground games and physical activities from around the world to motivate children to be more active, including boomerang golf from Australia and korfball, a mixed-sex team game similar to basketball that originated in the Netherlands.

With Passport to Play, “McDonald’s is building on our rich heritage of caring for the well-being of children and of supporting schools and our local communities,” Ken Barun, the company’s senior vice president of “balanced, active lifestyles,” said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 16 percent of Americans ages 6 to 19 are overweight. Nutritionists point to easy access to fast food and large portion sizes as major contributors to the problem.