McDonald’s Go Yin-Yang

Now I’m “lovin” it.

According to the American Medical Association, the rise in obesity among children in the 2000s represents “a major public health concern.” Overweight kids tend to become overweight adults and are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and other serious medical conditions.

Two of the primary culprits cited include poor eating habits and lack of physical activity. Get Up and Go with Ronald is designed to combat the latter. Since the McKids Adventures series is a product of the world’s premier fast food purveyor, however, the message is mixed at best. (The McKids brand also includes toys, books, and clothing.)

On the one hand, the DVD makes no mention of the company’s cuisine. On the other, Ronald McDonald pops up every few minutes, so it’s hard not to see this 30-minute program as a particularly insidious form of infomercial, regardless as to the rationale behind its creation. The man in the grease paint and crimson wig serves as a sort of Captain Kangaroo figure, although viewers with coulrophobia (fear of clowns) would probably prefer a less menacing mascot.

The content itself consists of six good looking grade schoolers–Ally, Max, Jamal, Isabella, Kim, and Dylan–riding scooters, playing soccer, and engaging in other forms of aerobic exercise (“dancing, hopping, drawing, and rocking,” to quote the hip-hoppety opening theme). Small children may well be entertained by the lively songs and stories, but it’s questionable whether they’ll actually be inspired to “get up and go.” (Ages 2-5) –Kathleen C. Fennessy