Are Hospitals Unhealthy for Patients?


With at least one fast food restaurant on every street corner these days, it’s no wonder America is the most overweight and obese country in the world. Burgers, fries and all things fried are the leading reason why our nation has an unhealthy weight problem. So why is it that these fast food businesses are even allowed in the healthiest places of all – hospitals?

Currently, 18 hospitals in America have contracts with McDonald’s, which serves food to guests, sick patients and doctors. Other fast food chains like Chick-Fil-A and Wendy’s are also partnering up with hospital food courts.

Now, the medical profession is fighting back.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been doing a series of hospital food reports to analyze just how dire the situation is. In their fifth and most recently published installment, experts surveyed more than 200 hospitals around the nation. Most of the hospitals with fast food chains are located in the South, where, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics, obesity rates are disproportionately high.

It gets worse when certain contracts allow for an increase in hospital revenue when fast food sales increase.

In one example, the McDonald’s inside Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston “can terminate its lease if yearly gross sales of Big Macs and other junk foods do not reach $1 million,” the committee’s report states. “Moreover, the monthly rent McDonald’s pays to the hospital increases based on food sales.” This the hospitals unhealthy secret.

But, as the report states, there is hope, and conditions have been improving. Since the committee started issuing its food reports, two hospitals mentioned have removed the junk food: McDonald’s closed at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital no longer carries Dairy Queen products. Several other fast-food restaurants have also recently closed in hospitals around the country.

The committee also mentions that more and more hospitals have been adding fresh fruits and vegetables to their cafeterias. But PCRM’s president, Neal Barnard, wants to take it one step further: “Just as cigarettes are banned from hospitals, why not do the same for meat, cheese, and other junk foods?”

Information gathered from Yahoo News.


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