Obesity & the “McLawsuit”
Compiled by Vickey Baggott; Revised by Paula L. Webb
November 2008


Advertising Nutrition & Health : Evidence from Food Advertising, 1977-1997. Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission. 2002. FT1.37:AD9
Available online: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS24145 (PDF format)

Advertising Practices : Answers for Small Business. Federal Trade Commission. 2001. FT1.2:AD9/5

Do You Know the Health Risks of Being Overweight? National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. 1999, updated 2001. HE20.3302.OV2/999 OR Available online: http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/health/riskbeing-overweight/health.htm

Getting Fit, Staying Healthy : Strategies for Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in America : Hearing before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions . . . U.S. Senate. 2003. Y 4:L 11/4 S.HRG.107-477 (Microfiche) OR Available via PURL: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS29809 (PDF format)

Overweight Among U.S. Children and Adolescents. National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dept. of Health and Human Services. 2002. HE20.6202:N95/19 OR Available via PURL: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS21878 (PDF format)

“Overweight, obesity threaten U.S. health gains”, April 2002, FDA Consumer, vol. 36, iss. 2. Food and Drug Administration. HE20.4010:v.36,no.2 OR Available via FDA: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2002/202_fat.html


Health, United States, 2002 : with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dept. of Health and Human Services. 2002. HE 20.7042/6:2002 (Online) Available via CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus02.pdf (PDF format)

Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity Among Adults : United States, 1999-2002. National Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Dept. of Health & Human Services. 2002. Available via CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/obese/obse99.htm

“State-Specific Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults with Disabilities -- Eight States and the District of Columbia, 1998--1999”, September 13, 2002, MMWR, Vol. 51, iss. 36. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dept. of Health and Human Services. Available via CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5136a1.htm#top

Statistics Related to Overweight and Obesity. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. 2004. Available via NIH: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/nutrit/pubs/statobes.htm (website)

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, 2001. Office of the Surgeon General, Public Health Service, Dept. of Health and Human Services. 2001. HE20.2:OB2 (Online) Available via PURL: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS16583 (PDF format)

Tobacco’s Deadly Secret : the Impact of Tobacco Marketing on Women and Girls : Hearing before the Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee . . . Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate. 2003. Y4.G74/9:S.HRG.107-552 (Online) Available via PURL: http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS29432 (Witness testimonies only – PDF format)


Center for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/  “Overweight and Obesity”  http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/index.htm

MEDLINEPLUS   (National Library of Medicine)
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/  “Obesity”  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/obesity.html

National Center for Health Statistics   (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services)

Alabama Department of Public Health


FEDSTAT: One Stop Shopping for Federal Statistics     http://www.fedstats.gov/

FirstGov: Your First Click to the U.S. Government          http://firstgov.gov/fgsearch/index.jsp

Google: Uncle Sam                                                       http://www.google.com/unclesam


The Case:
Pelman v. McDonald's Corp., S.D.N.Y.2003, 237 F. Supp. 2d 512
Held in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on January 22, 2003.

The Statutes:
United States Code
            Title 21 – Food and Drugs
                       Chapter 9 – Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic Act
                                    Subchapter IV – Food

21 USC 341    Definitions and Standards for Food

                        “Whenever in the judgment of the Secretary such action will promote honesty and fair
                        dealing in the interest of consumers, he shall promulgate regulations fixing and
                        establishing for any food, under its common or usual name so far as practicable, a
                        reasonable definition and standard of identity, a reasonable standard of quality, or
                        reasonable standards of fill of container.

21 USC 343    Misbranded Food

                       The Secretary may by regulation require any information required to
                        be placed on the label or labeling . . . if the Secretary determines that
                        . . .will assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices.

21 USC 343(q)(5)(A)   . . . shall not apply to food –

(i)                 which is served in restaurants or other establishments in which food is served for
immediate human consumption or which is sold for sale or use in such establishments,

21 USC 343-1    National Uniform Nutrition Labeling; State Prohibitions and Exemptions

(a)                 Except as provided in subsection (b) of the section, no State or political subdivision
of a State may directly or indirectly establish under any authority or continue in effect
as to any food in interstate commerce –

(4)               any requirement for nutrition labeling of food that is not identical to the
requirement of section 343(q) of this title, except a requirement for nutrition
labeling of food which is exempt under subclause (i) or (ii) of section 343(q)(5)(A)
of this title, . . .

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Last updated: November 4, 2008 plw