Obesity and Mad Cow Disease

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Information on obesity

According to world health organisation (WHO) obesity and overweight is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that leads to various health problems. Obesity can be measured by a taking a person weight in kilograms divided by square of height in meters. An individual with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more is generally considered as obese. Obesity is the major reason for the cause of various chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, hypertension and cancer. The most popular causes of obesity are overeating, no physical exercise. Genetic also plays an important role in the cause of obesity for instance if one or both parents are obese than a person is more likely to develop obesity. The obesity can be controlled through proper medication, following a healthy diet and performing physical activity.

1 Issues (obesity)

  • McDonald faced obesity matter in the year 2000. Obesity showed significant growth, the proportion of obese people rise from 15% to 31% between the years 1980 to 2000.
  • Obesity issue caught more attention because of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention as they released their report in February 2004 that 400000 death was caused annually due to obesity.
  • The Body mass index increased because of several factors, such as 10% increase in calorie intake, Technological advancement lead to decrease in strength based work and also reduced the cost of food thereby influencing people to consume more food.

Interest Groups

  • Consumers including children and individuals
  • Media, Filmmaker, Competitive enterprise institute (CEI)
  • Physician committee for responsible medicine
  • D-IA, D-CN, CSPI, National restaurant association


  • United States Government (Senate and Congress)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Foreign Drug Administration (FDA)


  • The proportion of obese people increased from 15% to 31% from 1980 to 2000. Approximately 64% of American adult were overweight or obese.
  • According to the reports provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 400000 deaths were caused annually due to obesity illness compared to 435000 deaths due to tobacco.
  • Obesity was also caused because of various factors such as increased in calorie intake by 10%, reduced strength-based work, and Technological advancement decreased cost of food leading people to consume more food.
  • Concerning the obesity issue, McDonald eliminated supersized meal and created a healthy lifestyles program which include fruits and salads in the menu. McDonald promoted lifestyle platform to address obesity and physical well-being. The platform included new food choices such as Go active.
  • McDonald announces that it would introduce a new core menu and will eliminate supersize options, CSPI kept their focus on McDonald as they announce to add salad and fruits to their menu.
  • McDonald failed in reformulating its trans-fat-laden cooking oil and therefore frying in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil leading to heart disease and weight gains among its consumers
  • McDonald promoted its trademark golden arches on Barbie doll and bag packs, provided many schools with lunch also used plastic toys for promoting their products. Cold drinks that are provided by McDonald contains a heavy amount of sugars which indirectly leads to weight gain.
  • Researchers in Sweden detected acrylamide chemical in a variety of foods in French fries from McDonald, such chemical lead to diseases such as obesity, cancer, birth defect or other reproductive harm.

Introduction to mad cow disease

Mad cow is a progressive neurological disease, means it gets worse overtime. It destroys the central nervous system in the cattle, it effects the brain and spinal cord. Mad cow disease is also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) (health wise staff 2018). The mad cow disease is caused by a protein called prion and this prion protein are found in brain and spinal cord. The symptoms of mad cow disease in a cow is incoordination that is a cow cannot walk or stand properly.

Issue (Mad Cow Disease)

  • The first case of mad cow disease detected in the United States in Washington State in a downer cow in December 2003.
  • McDonald faced mad cow disease in a number of other countries and use such experience for an event in the United States

Interest Groups

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  • Consumers (including children and individuals)
  • CSPI, Environmental Defence, Elanco Animal Health
  • People for Ethical Treatment of Animal (PETA), Animal Welfare Groups.
  • United Egg Producer (UEP), American Humane Association


  • Federal Government
  • FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)


  • McDonald had faced mad cow diseases issue in various other countries and is using its experience to prepare for such an event in the United States. The first case of mad cow diseases was detected in Washington State in the US in a downer cow in December 2003.
  • McDonald along with Environmental Defense and Elanco Animal Health together created the antibiotics coalition.
  • PETA and other animal welfare groups targeted McDonald over the treatment of food animals. Due to which McDonald adopted new standards for its beef suppliers, including minimum space standards for cattle in feedlots. Standards were also set for animal transportation and care.

2 Four approaches were undertaken by McDonald's to address the nonmarket environment


  • To address the obesity issue McDonald suspended its promotion of supersized meals and created a healthy lifestyle program
  • McDonald introduced fruits and salads to their menu to encourage a healthy lifestyle. It also included other option such as go active adult happy meal. And provided with nutritional information and walking fitness booklets.
  • McDonald, in April 2004 developed a healthy lifestyle platform to address obesity and physical wellbeing. It also announced to introduce a new core menu to eliminate supersize options.

The environment policy

  • Environment policy was established by McDonald pertaining to natural resources, rainforests, sustainability, and waste management.
  • To save electricity, McDonald also participated in the European Union Green lights program and U.S. green light program.
  • McDonald opened its first HFC/CFC free restaurant in Denmark, in order to protect the environment from hazards chemicals and gases.

Mad cow disease

  • To address mad cow disease, in 2000 McDonald began to eliminate the growth-promoting antibiotics in Europe, and by the end of the year 2001, it eliminated all such antibiotics used in chicken feeds.
  • In 2001, antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone class were discontinued in the United States.
  • In 2003, McDonald announced that the use of growth-promoting hormones would be phased out by all its suppliers.
  • McDonald's set new standards for its beef suppliers that include minimum space standards for cattle’s in feedlots. Standards were also set for animal care and transport.

3 Issue life cycle

McDonald addresses the obesity issue at the interest group stage, as the interest groups started responding to the obesity issue. There were many participants who pinpointed the obesity issue they were media, filmmakers, DIA representative, senate, CSPI. According to me when obesity and physical wellbeing was becoming a critical issue, McDonald's at that time came up with a healthy lifestyle program that would include fruits and salad on their menu. It also included other option such as go active adult happy meal. And provided with nutritional information and walking fitness booklets. McDonald introduced a new core menu and eliminated supersizes meals. McDonald made a good move in order to protect the environment they came up with environmental policy in order to protect and preserve natural resources and to main sustainability and waste management. Also, McDonald participated in a green light program to save electricity. McDonald opened restaurant hfc/cfc free to protect environment harmful chemical and gases.


  1. Balentine, J. R. (n.d.). Obesity Causes, Treatment & BMI. https://www.medicinenet.com/obesity_weight_loss/article.htm#obesity_facts
  2. Centre for Veterinary Medicine. (n.d.). Animal Health Literacy - All about BSE (Mad Cow Disease). https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/animalhealthliteracy/ucm136222.htm
  3. Mad Cow Disease. (n.d.). https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=tu6533
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Obesity and Mad Cow Disease. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/obesity-and-mad-cow-disease/
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