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From happy to healthy meals

By offering a salad, pedometer, McDonald's aims to polish its image.

By Associated Press
Published September 18, 2003

CHICAGO - McDonald's Corp. is testing a new kind of Happy Meal - one for adults.

Instead of a burger and a toy, the standard fare in kids' Happy Meals, the Go Active meal being test marketed in Indiana will include a salad, an exercise booklet and a pedometer to encourage people to walk more to maintain good health.

The test program will be at more than 150 McDonald's in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Muncie, Lafayette and Kokomo this fall.

The fast food giant has enlisted the aid of Oprah Winfrey's personal trainer, fitness guru Bob Greene, to promote the $4.99 Go Active Meal, its latest effort to convince consumers that it is serious about offering healthier products. The meal also includes a bottle of water or a medium fountain drink.

McDonald's and other fast food chains have tried to offer healthier fare that will still tempt taste buds as the fat and calorie content of their core products has come under scrutiny. Burger King, the No. 2 hamburger chain, planned to launch a new line of low-fat, made-to-order baguette-style chicken sandwiches today.

Two weeks ago, a federal judge in New York dismissed an obesity lawsuit against McDonald's that alleged it had been hiding the health risks of eating its popular Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets.

Greene, who can't remember the last time he visited a McDonald's restaurant, said consumers had to take "personal responsibility" for the choices they make when it comes to consuming food. He will also consult on new menu items for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company, which also on Tuesday announced a new taco version of its premium salads.

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