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USA Today reports this morning that McDonald’s “is launching a new national physical-education program Tuesday aimed at third through fifth graders and includes games and activities from countries around the world.” The company says that 31,000 public schools representing some seven million students have agreed to at least try the program, which introduces games from other countries to US students.

Critics, however, say that McDonald’s – which it says is at least partly responsible for the nation’s childhood obesity problems – has no business getting into the physical education business.

But Bill Lamar, McDonald's chief marketing officer, says, "This is part of our ongoing commitment to having children realize the importance of eating right and staying active."
KC's View:
If McDonald’s has its name plastered all over America’s public school gyms, with kids wearing little Golden Arches sweatbands, that might be too much. If as part of the program, kids are being given coupons for free French fries, that might be too much.

We do think that Mickey D’s has to walk a fine line here, and be careful not to cross the line of propriety in funding these programs. But there’s no reason that we can think of for a fast food giant not to fund gym programs that lead to a healthier population.

The better question is why other companies aren’t doing the same – especially local retailers with an interest in establishing community connections.

Besides, we sort of like the global aspect of the program. Sometimes it’s good for Americans to be reminded that it is a big world out there, with a lot of different cultures to be embraced and learned from.