A Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine report describes a number of McDonald’s outlets in hospitals, including children’s hospitals. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Ben Taub General Hospital, Northside Hospital Atlanta, St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Naval Medical Center San Diego, and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago are identified in their report as having McDonald’s restaurants.
It’s easy to imagine a person having a heart attack, being whisked away to a hospital receiving successful treatment, and the very next day eating fat, salt and sugar-laden junk food from the onsite McDonald’s. In fact, such a scenario did take place, except the food was from the hospital’s own cafeteria, and it too was unhealthy. “At the Cleveland Clinic in Florida, for instance, a patient in the cardiac ICU was served fatty chunks of meat floating in lukewarm, congealed gravy. At St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla., a hospital employee recounted a breakfast that included two kinds of processed meat. Repeated requests for vegan soups were ignored. At the University of Chicago Medical Center, a participant in a sleep study was shocked when she was served a meal that included several fried items, a cookie, a soda, and milk. She sent photographs of the unhealthful food items to PCRM.” (Source: PCRM)
Considering the fact junk food is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic in the US, allowing such retailers to have a presence within their healthcare centers is irresponsible and counterproductive. Medical costs related to obesity are about $190 billion each year. Everyone should know obesity is directly tied to heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is connected with at least eight types of cancer.
Because food choices are so important to our health, and it makes no sense whatsoever to have McDonald’s in hospitals, a consumer advocacy group has launched a campaign to have them removed. The chances of this happening might be very low, however, as the contracts with hospitals could be very hard to break.
In fairness to McDonald’s, it isn’t only this junk food chain that has been allowed to do business on hospital grounds. Chick-fil-A has been also, and the food sold in some hospital cafeterias can be equally unhealthy.
Image Credit: Len Rizzi, Public Domain