London Olympics has been attracting criticism for its choice of sponsors in recent weeks and now obesity campaigners are critical of McDonald's promotional strategy of handing out free exercise toys with its Happy Meals which has long been viewed as junk food.
The restaurant hopes children will use the toys - two stepometers, a bat and ball, a shuttle run counter and a relay baton - to keep track of how much exercise they are doing and then log their "activity points" online, the Independent reports.
AdvertisementSome of the nine million toys will be given out free during the tour of 68 UK locations and they will also be available to buy individually from restaurants and online. But most of it will come with the hamburger and fries that reportedly make up an ordinary Happy Meal.
The giveaway will be accompanied by a 14-week tour of the UK by the one-eyed Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, who are fuelled by "Rainbow Power" generated by children taking part in exercise.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) this week launched a campaign to combat obesity, describing the McD initiative as "the single greatest public-health threat in the UK".
Professor Terence Stephenson, Vice-Chairman of the AoMRC and President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said that the toys are a good thing because they encourage children to be active. But having the unhealthy junk meal alongside won't do any good.