As concerns about obesity in children and young people continue to make headlines, purveyor of burgers to the planet McDonald's is attempting a tricky balancing act.

The fast food giant plans to continue bringing healthier options to its worldwide menus, at the same time ensuring it does not alienate its core clientele who seek a Big Mac with fries.

The company has introduced salads, fruits and white chicken meat and will be offering additional figure-friendly foods in future but, maintains ceo Jim Skinner: "Hamburgers and french fries ... have been at the core of our menu, and I think will continue to be there for the long term."

Skinner blames obesity on lack of exercise rather than a surfeit of fast food: "It's [as] much about choice and what people eat [as] how they feel about a balanced lifestyle and their personal responsibility."

He took over the McDonald's hotseat in November following the untimely death from cancer of his predecessor Charlie Bell.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff