McDonald’s is making some major changes to go healthy.  Some of its specific steps include:

- Introducing healthy options on Happy Meals by Q1 2012 that are expected to reduce calories intake by 20 percent.

- Rolling out national marketing campaigns to raise nutrition awareness, especially in advertisements to children.

- Reducing sodium intake by an average of 15 percent by 2015.

- Reducing added sugars, saturated fat and calories intake by 2020.

- Making nutrition information more accessible, including rolling out a mobile app for it.

These recommendations address some of the criticisms previously directed at McDonald’s and the U.S. fast-food industry in general, which were blamed for contributing the U.S. obesity epidemic by offering and advertising fattening and unhealthy food.

McDonald’s advertising and offering of toys with children’s Happy Meals was especially controversial.

The company’s new healthy changes are largely in-line with what nutrition experts recommend.  For example, increasing one’s portion of fruits, reducing sodium intake, and reducing sugar intake are all in accordance with USDA recommendations.

Moreover, studies have shown that increasing nutrition awareness helps people make healthier choices. 

“McDonald’s will always try to do the right thing, and we know we can help make a difference in our communities.  The commitments we’re announcing today will guide the future evolution of our menu and marketing,” said McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields.