Nine-year-old Hannah Robertson put McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson on the spot on Thursday at the corporation’s annual shareholders’ meeting. According to USA Today, the girl was attending the meeting with her mother, Kia, designer of a “Today I Ate a Rainbow,” a kids’ interactive game aimed at helping children making better dietary choices.
“There are things in life that aren’t fair — like when your pet dies,” the newspaper quoted Hannah as saying, “I don’t think it’s fair when big companies try to trick kids into eating food that isn’t good for them by using toys and cartoon characters. It isn’t fair that so many kids my age and younger who are getting really sick with diseases like diabetes and obesity.”
She was questioning the fairness of McDonald’s business practice of marketing highly processed, heavily salted and fatty foods to children. She concluded her remarks by pointedly asking the CEO, “Mr. Thompson don’t you want children to be healthy so they can live a long and healthy life?”
McDonald’s and other fast-food chains have made salutary gestures at improving their menues, offering skim milk or bottled water with kids’ meals rather than sugary or diet sodas, offering some healthier selections for side dishes like apple wedges.
Still, children’s health advocates and nutritionists worry that the changes don’t go far enough. Several activists at the meeting voiced their concerns and, in the case of Hannah Robertson, one of their children.
“We don’t sell junk food,” Thompson said to the girl. “My kids also eat McDonald’s.”
He thanked her for her comments, and said, “I think it’s great that you want to eat more fruits and veggies.”
You can listen to audio of Hannah’s remarks, embedded below via YouTube:
[image via StevenDePolo’s Flickr Photostream, Creative Commons licensed]