McDonald’s has announced it will trial its home delivery service in Hervey Bay, and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland isn’t lovin’ it.

Hervey Bay residents will be able to place a minimum order of $25 through Menulog and have it delivered right to their door.

Dr Shaun Rudd, the president of AMA Queensland, is bitterly disappointed with the announcement.

“My heart fell, because it’s going to affect other people’s hearts,” he says. “It’s sad to see them target people who really haven’t got the education or the money to buy proper food and cook proper food, and make it even easier for them to access burgers and fries. This will just make them fatter, unfortunately.”

In an unfortunate twist, not only is Dr Rudd a Hervey Bay GP himself, but he just launched the Lighten Your Load campaign to tackle obesity in regional and rural Queensland.

“It’s very, very disheartening to see this after we just launched a campaign to try to get people to understand that they’re getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and that they need to do something about it,” Dr Rudd says.

“People need to go see their general practitioner to get a check-up and see whether they’ve already developed diabetes or high blood pressure or any of these chronic diseases, and then get some advice about what to do about it. But that campaign will be very much undermined in the Hervey Bay area if people can access fast food much more quickly and easily.

“All the regional and rural areas of Queensland have a problem, and Hervey Bay’s certainly right on the state average where two out of three adults are either overweight or obese and one out of four kids are either overweight or obese. This, unfortunately, will probably make things worse. It certainly won’t make things better.”

Of course, you can already get all sorts of fast food delivered, but Dr Rudd sees McDonald’s home delivery as a new low.

“Fast food being delivered is never a good thing,” he says, “but when you add in major, major player like McDonald’s, that just adds to the burden.

“All I can say is that this is part of our obesity epidemic. We know obesity is a problem, and this will not help it. It makes it very hard for people to make good choices when these corporations do this sort of thing.”

McDonald’s says it is simply responding to consumer demand.

“Australians have enjoyed the convenience of restaurant home delivery for decades and our customers have often said they like the idea of Macca’s delivery so we’re currently trialling it in a number of our restaurants,” said a spokesman for the company.

“We will look to extend the service once these trials are completed. Customers choosing to take advantage of this trial service can order from a nearly full range of menu items, including burgers, French fries, salads or wraps, and as always can review comprehensive nutrition and ingredient information on our website.”

Hervey Bay will be the only Queensland location to take part in the trial. The spokesman confirmed the company has no firm commitments or timeframes to roll out the service to the rest of the state.

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