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Is fastfood really to blame for Abu Dhabi’s supersized problem?

Is fastfood really to blame for Abu Dhabi’s supersized problem?

Does McDonald’s have a role in the UAE’s increasing obesity problem?

August 21, 2011 1:39 by

Oh the blame-game, it is never-ending, isn’t it?

In a recent article on The National Rafic Fakih, the managing director for Emirates Fast Food, which runs and owns McDonald’s outlets in the UAE, has been featured for saying McDonald’s cannot be blamed for the UAE’s widespread obesity.

“It’s a common perception of the quick-service restaurant business that it is unhealthy, and it’s a wrong perception. Our market share is only 13 per cent of the informal eating out segment in the UAE, so how can we be responsible for a huge problem?”

Only 13 percent of informal dining segment in the UAE? Now, this Kipper does find it a little hard to digest that, but there is no denying that Mickey D’s is well-loved here, and yes we are talking about all 90 outlets of the franchise here in the UAE. McDonalds in the UAE say they expect sales growth to be 7 to 8 per cent this year, which is considerably higher than the 5 per cent global average McDonald’s Corporation announced a couple of weeks ago.

Interesting numbers there, just as interesting as this one: Abu Dhabi health services company SEHA’s most recent survey found that 29 per cent of children in Abu Dhabi were either overweight or obese.

So, is it really stretching it to shove the entire blame for the third of Abu Dhabi’s obese children on McDonald’s? Probably is. Then again, fast food, excuse us quick-service, joints haven’t really turned the game around like they have in the West, when it comes to providing nutritional food. What do you think? Should fast food brands shoulder some of the blame? Or does the problem lie elsewhere?

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