In exchange for one-dollar donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Wendy’s will hand over four (count ‘em, four) small Frostys to charitable customers. Hey, that’s just twenty-five cents per each 42 grams of sugar!
Juvenile diabetes, which was rapidly fatal before the discovery of insulin, affects as many as three million Americans, fifteen percent of which are children. The disorder is managed through a combination of insulin, medication, and diet, but researchers at the forefront hope to find a way to reverse diabetes entirely. Dollars from square burger-buyers could help.
We’ve seen questionable partnerships before (remember Susan G. Komen and KFC?), so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Americans have to be bribed with cream and corn syrup in order to help out sick kids – and, along the way, might get sick themselves. While juvenile diabetes, otherwise known as Type 1, is the result of both genetic and environmental factors and not diet, Type 2 diabetes often emerges as the result of a person being overweight and poor eating habits. Even one small chocolate Frosty contains 300 calories – that’s more than in a whole box of no sugar added, non-dairy fudge bars.
Wendy’s work for charity, such as the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, is exciting, and chocolate shakes will probably encourage a lot of donations for medical research. But this partnership is symptomatic of greater issues: the fast-food machine, our unwillingness to donate unless we get something back, and a band-aid approach to health. Why not donate the dollar and skip the shakes?
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