Fast food in hospitals? What’s next, IVs of corn syrup?

There was a disturbing report on NPR this morning about the prevalence of fast food restaurants located in hospitals around the country.  Fortunately it sounds like this is a somewhat limited phenomena, but darnit, shouldn’t some places be free from the reach of Ronald McDonald and his ilk?

Hospital Makes Nutritious Food More Available by Elana Gordon for NPR News, Jul. 9, 2012

One of the places you’d expect to find healthy food is in hospitals – boring, but healthy. But in recent decades, fast food restaurants have worked their way into hospitals around the country. That’s despite growing evidence linking fast food menus to high rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Elana Gordon from member station KCUR in Kansas City takes us to one place that has been wrestling with that situation.

This reminds me of when I was in the hospital for a prolonged period in Japan.  I thought that it would be an excellent chance to quit smoking–until I realized that the smoking lounge was two doors down from my room and that I could buy cigarettes in the gift shop!  (For those that care, I finally did manage to quit smoking in the months leading up to BabyDisgust’s birth.)

One McDonald’s customer in the story articulated that it was comforting to have predictable food from McDonald’s while in the hospital.  I guess that makes sense, but the bigger issue is the message that is sent to patients–as they leave their doctor’s office with tips about eating healthily, they are immediately confronted by the exact opposite.  This point is made best by the CEO of the hospital in the story:

When you come in, you could be – very well be on the way to your diabetic clinic appointment or going to see the bariatric surgeon for your weight problem, and you’re passing a McDonalds on the way. That’s an inconsistent message.

 

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3 Comments on “Fast food in hospitals? What’s next, IVs of corn syrup?”

  1. Hospitals are businesses. It’s an ingenious marketing idea.

  2. Adam says:

    I wonder if it’s really about “marketing.” A little bit of self-interest goes a long way.


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