Hefty birthday to you, McDonald’s

If McDonald’s is looking to help reverse the trend of obesity, more power to it.

Love it or loathe it, McDonald’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the fast-food giant that revolutionized the way Americans eat has a menu full of options for its future. Above all else, the golden-arched icon has served as a business role model for the innumerable chains dotting the sides of our streets today.

Ronald McDonald is getting a facelift. The yellow-clad clown with ketchup-colored hair doesn’t seem to hold muster anymore, and appeal has turned into disgust. Business executives think Ronald needs to be more accepted and approachable by an older crowd including teenagers. In the end, the impact of McDonald’s is more than the numerous subconscious imprints that have made Ronald more recognizable than Jesus, at least according to Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me.” Globalization and farming practices aside, McDonald’s can immediately focus on health

Though McDonald’s is looking to revamp its look, it should look to retread its revolution. Granted, most people who like McDonald’s know it isn’t always healthy for them but still eat it and enjoy it. A few years ago, where else could you get yourself a sandwich for less than $1? However, McDonald’s has the cultural capital in the United States to shift eating habits, albeit slowly. Now, many fast-food chains, from Burger King to Taco Bell, are offering a $1 menu to customers, giving them fast and almost free food. McDonald’s set the standard for value menus, which began to offer customers entire meals for even less than $3. Now, McDonald’s is looking for more diet-balanced meals to offer health-conscious customers.

Though not all people are willing to give up their super-sized Big Mac meals, if McDonald’s is looking to help reverse the trend of obesity – even as a side effect of its pursuit for the dollar – more power to it. The potential is there. If unhealthy food can be made fast, cheap and tasty, why not healthy food? The next 50 years will decide if McDonald’s is one of the heroes for the health of the United States or one of its villains.