Category: The Fat Files

McDonalds opening at the Louvre in Paris!

The Golden Arches

The Golden Arches

McDonalds is taking over the world. Not only are they making moves on Balmoral and Kaikoura than they are opening a restaurant in the Louvre Museum next month.

The 1,142nd McDonalds in France will open just metres inside the main entrance as a celebration of its 3oth birthday.

An art historian working at the museum stated:

“This is the pinnacle of exhausting consumerism, deficient gastronomy and very unpleasant odours in the context of a museum…”

I couldn’t have put it better myself, and so I wont.

McDonalds joins a Starbucks that opened near the Right Bank entrance to the Louvre in 2008.

The restaurant chain in France has enjoyed the biggest growth outside the USA. According to the chain the fast food group opened 30 new outlets last year in France and welcomed 450 million customers – up 11 per cent on the previous year.

Read the original Daily Telegraph article.

McDonalds in Balmoral

So, after my post about McDonalds buying land in Kaikoura I was contacted by the good folk in Balmoral Auckland. They have been fighting to stop a McDonalds restaurant open in their suburb.

TV3 ran a story tonight that said the McDonalds application has been approved – with one proviso: that they aren’t allowed to erect the 10 metre high identifying “Golden Arches”.

Needless to say the Balmoral Community Group are gutted. They continue to fight and are raising funds to appeal the decision.

According to the Balmoral Community Group spokesperson Nathan Inkpen, the biggest walking bus in the country will be passing by the McDonalds restaurant twice a day. Perhaps that is the main reason that the McD’s positioned the site there. After all, we know they like to target the young.

Go to the Balmoral Says No! website to lend your support and help them continue the fight.

McDonalds in Balmoral? No way.

After my weekend posting about the protests against McDonalds setting up shop in Kaikoura Justine from Balmoral made her campaign against McDonalds in her suburb known to me.

Little did I know there are communities around the country fighting to stop this fast-food giant establishing itself.

And the Balmoral people look highly organised indeed. Check out their activity here.

And while we are on the subject, my children have been watching morning TV during their school holidays as a treat. (If I ever have to watch another episode of Ben 10 I’ll scream – loudly.)

McDonalds seem to have moved from advertising the food on morning TV to advertising the games and figurines in an attempt, successfully, to persuade the children to persuade the parents to buy the food.

In my book they are the same thing. The reality is that you can’t get the figurine without buying a burger or a happy meal. Bugger.

McDonalds in Kaikoura?

McDonalds not wanted in Kaikoura

McDonalds not wanted in Kaikoura

The locals in Kaikoura probably won’t win this battle – more’s the pity.

McDonalds has revealed it bought a large block of land on the outskirts of this seaside town with the ultimate aim of erecting the Golden Arches.

Locals are upset about it, but the district plan will allow for the restaurant.

While I’d hate to see the culinary delights of Kaikoura blighted by the presence of a McDonalds restaurant the people petitioning against the development could be seen as a little hypocritical. SUBWAY have a restaurant in Kaikoura. While their footprint is smaller they are still a global brand selling anything but local produce.

According to the Marlborough Express “feedback from a forum held in 2002, A Kaikoura Celebration, indicated that the community did not want to see any large fast food chains in town and a similar scenario is being played out in Mosgiel, where residents have approached the council to try to stop the move.”

Seems it might be too late.

OECD says New Zealanders are the 3rd fattest nation

There is no disputing the fact that the general population is getting fatter. Now there’s a study to prove it, and New Zealand comes off badly. The OECD Health Data 2009 – comparing health statistics across OECD countries is behind locked doors, available only to journalists or people who subscribe to the OECD ‘service’. So, there’s no way of me knowing how the OECD arrived at their conclusions.

All I can confirm is that we are third only behind the USA, and Mexico. The USA has nearly one in three obese people whereas we are nearly one in four.

You only need to look at the weight restrictions in lifts to see how much our weight has increased over the years. A lift that can hold 13 people OR 900 kgs would suggest that the average weight of lift-users is approximately 70kg. That’s clearly rubbish. My nickname is Skinny and I weigh 75kgs – put 13 of me in a lift and the alarms would sound.

A few ideas (of mine) as to how and why people are putting on weight:

  1. People are eating the wrong food.
  2. People aren’t exercising enough.
  3. Recessionary times increase levels of anxiety and depression and so people eat more
  4. Recessionary times means people are watching their dollars and eating cheaper, more fatty, more unhealty food
  5. People work longer and so have less time to cook good quality healthy food
  6. People have forgotten how to cook good quality healthy food
  7. Coke is cheaper than milk
  8. Eating a burger and fries is cheaper, easier and quicker than cooking a good quality healthy meal
  9. There’s a hell of a lot more sugar in everything we eat, even in our apples, and bread!
  10. More and more of the population sit on their arse all day staring at computer screens instead of working in jobs that require them to move and exercise
  11. Advertising pushes and pushes crap food (down our throats – literally) under the guise of it being healthy and quick when it is neither

Digging round the OECD site to see if there is any free data on obesity I came across this working paper:
(1319kb, PDF)

They identify the following issues:

…changing diets and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, particularly in the last thirty years, have contributed to a generalised increase in body weight. Spreading obesity has been associated with growing rates of chronic diseases, possibly affecting longevity…

and there is an

…epidemic of ‘lack of cardio-respiratory fitness’ associated with sedentary behaviour…

as well as

…many people are consuming too much salt, which is one of the determinants of rising levels of hypertension…

They also reveal

…male obesity rates have also been growing faster than female rates in most OECD countries…

but that

…pre-obesity rates (are) increasing at a faster pace in women than men in countries such as Australia, Switzerland, United States or United Kingdom, while the opposite is true in countries such as Finland, Japan or Spain…

There’s also evidence that “identified women as one of a number of groups, along with low-wage earners and ethnic minorities, in which declining real incomes, coupled with increasing numbers of hours devoted to work, have been associated with escalating obesity
rates since the 1970s.” (See my point #5 above)

And the relationship between socio-economic condition and obesity?

In low-income countries obesity is generally more prevalent among the better-off,  while disadvantaged groups are increasingly affected as countries grow richer…Men and women in poor socio-economic circumstances may also differ with regard to their patterns of physical activity. Low-paid jobs typically reserved to men tend to be more physically demanding than those more often taken up by women.

So, there you have it. The government aiding and abetting this situation, this epidemic, by not restricting advertising of food to children and by removing funding to grass-roots initiatives aimed at increasing health and fitness (SPARC).

What will New Zealand look like in 10 years time? How much will we, as tax payers, be paying for our overburdened public health in the treatment of diabetes and heart problems? Will we eventually ride in lifts where the maximum number of people allowed will be six (or 900 kgs)?

I hope not.

Push Play stopped

The Sunday Star Times reported on May 3 that John Key and the National Government are following through on overhauling the sporting sector. This includes cutting budgets at SPARC, the agency that gave us Push Play and Mission On.

The jury is out on Mission On and whether it has provided impetus to young people to do things other than sit in front of a television or computer screen. Ironically Mission On was based around a website, and so Key immediately dismissed it as being a waste of tax money. In fact, Key suggested they could provide sporting equipment to every primary school in the country for the money spent on the Mission On site. This may have been true but it takes teachers to teach, and giving kids soccer balls is less than half the solution. And what do the 28,268 kiwi kids who have signed up to Mission On do once the website is closed down. National would have them join the local rugby club.

The Push Play campaign has surely been successful in getting New Zealanders to think about making healthy choices. “Take the stairs instead of the lift”, “Exercise for 30 minutes every day”…all of these little homilies, that I remember, are as a result of the long term Push Play campaign.

It seems ludicrous to me that a government that will, and is, witnessing an increase in obesity and associated health problems is removing this sort of encouragement from our daily lives. They say they will concentrate on providing funding to sports clubs. This will only target some of New Zealand.

The effectiveness of campaigns like Push Play and Mission On are difficult to measure. But that doesn’t mean we should throw them out.

SPARC are now going to align their strategy with National’s objectives – concentrating on school sport, children’s sport, high performance development and identification of our next sporting heroes. Anyone not already a member of a sports club will undoubtedly miss out.

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