updated - March 9, 2014 Sunday EDT
McDonalds is offering customers the option to choose a side salad, fruit or vegetables in lieu of french fries with its meals Reuters reported.
"McDonald's slow march toward healthier meals made a major advance today, but a long road lies ahead for the company," the Center for Science in the Public Interest said in a statement to Reuters.
The changes are the latest developments in the franchise burger chain's efforts to offer healthier menu options amid pressure from the government and consumers to act on worldwide obesity.
McDonalds is also changing its drink selection in its happy meals to offer water, milk, and juice. The new choices will be available in McDonald's 20 major markets throughout the world by 2020. The company announced the changes at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York Thursday. As part of its announcement, the company said the revamped menu is part of a plan made in collaboration with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Reuters reported.
The Clinton Foundation and American Heart Association established the organization to give customers more opportunity to eat fruits and vegetables along with helping families and children make educated eating and lifestyle choices.
McDonald's last adjusted its happy meal in July 2011 when it began to serve a smaller portion of french fries, and also offered apples with every order because of demand from the Center for Science, its affiliates, and others.
According to Reuters, over a third of Americans are obese while 10 percent of the country's healthcare bill is connected to illnesses related to obesity. These include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Roughly one year ago, McDonald's also announced plans to provide information about calories in food items on its menus. This included the chain's 14,000 locations and drive throughs throughout the United States. The news came before a national law which would require bigger restaurants to give the information, came into effect.
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