McDonald’s has announced the launch of its new Go Active! happy meal for adults, which is part of an attempt to promote healthier menu options in order to counter anticipated negative publicity with the release of a new book, ‘Chew On This’ by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson, next month.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday chief executive Jim Skinner said that the new healthy options that the fastfood giant is rolling out are not part of a strategy solely aimed at undermining ‘Chew On This’, but he did concede that “it’s important to ramp this up now”.

The approach marks a departure from the near-silence with which the fastfood giant greeted Schlosser’s 2001 ‘Fast Food Nation’ and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary ‘Super Size Me’.

Fastfood companies have increasingly been held responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic and McDonald’s is now responding by focussing on ‘healthy’ fastfood options and promoting active lifestlyes.

The new Go Active! meal features any premium salad, including the new Asian Salad, a drink and customizable workout DVDs – provided in sequence.

“McDonald’s is responding to customers’ interest in fitness and exotic tastes by introducing the new Go Active! Happy Meal for Adults and the Asian Salad” said Bill Lamar, chief marketing officer, McDonald’s USA. “The salad is a part of McDonald’s ongoing effort to provide customers with quality menu choices.”