BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 21:22 GMT
Court dismisses McDonald's obesity case
American family
More than half of all adult Americans are overweight
A lawsuit by a group of American teenagers who claim the fast food chain McDonald's is responsible for their obesity has been thrown out of court by a New York judge.

"It is not the place of the law to protect them against their own excesses," Judge Robert Sweet said, adding the suit failed to "allege sufficiently" McDonald's food is addictive.

The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Samuel Hirsch in a Manhattan federal court, alleges McDonald's violated New York state's consumer fraud statutes by deliberately misleading consumers into thinking their products were healthy and nutritious.

Bush recovers after a run
President Bush has urged Americans to be healthier
It says the company did not adequately provide information on the health risks associated with fast food, and the children developed health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity from eating its products.

Most of the teenagers lived on a daily diet of burgers and fries from the restaurant.

The fast food industry and health campaigners have followed closely the lawsuit - the first obesity-related case against a food company to reach a United States courtroom.

A McDonald's spokesman said "common sense has prevailed".

"McDonald's has been providing nutrition information about our food for the past 30 years so that customers can make informed choices about what they decide to eat," he added.

'Obesity deaths'

A recent assessment of obesity in the US found that more than half of all adult Americans are overweight.

About 54 million adults were classified as obese - that is people who are about 15kg or more over the healthy norm, based on height - and hundreds of thousands of deaths each year are attributed to obesity-related diseases.

The situation is so serious that President George W Bush has urged Americans to follow a fitness regime to assuage the country's spiralling health care costs.

But the McDonald's ruling puts to rest fast-food companies' fears that the case could trigger a rash of further suits and huge payouts to victims - potentially running into billions of dollars - similar to those that have damaged the tobacco industry.

See also:

22 Jun 02 | Americas
30 May 02 | Americas
31 Jan 02 | Health
13 Jan 99 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes