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WASHINGTON  — Michelle Obama says McDonald’s decision to add apples to its Happy Meals is a positive step toward solving childhood obesity.

The first lady is heading a nationwide effort to reverse childhood obesity rates. She recently joined major retailers, including Wal-Mart, to announce plans to open or expand more than 1,500 stores over the next five years in areas without easy access to fresh produce.

McDonald’s said Tuesday that it will make apples a standard item in its kids’ meals. The company is also pledging to reduce sugars, saturated fats, sodium and calories in its menu items by 2020. Company officials said the changes are in response to consumer demand.

Mrs. Obama also lauded the world’s largest burger chain for continuing to change its menu.

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