Hospitals Selling Sickness

Hospitals Selling Sickness
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The movement to remove fast food operations from hospitals parallels the successful movement in the 80s to bar hospital tobacco sales.

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The food industry spends billions of advertising. Promotion costs for individual candy bars could run in the tens of millions, and this was years ago. McDonald’s alone spends a billion dollars on advertising every year. Such figures dwarf the National Cancer Institute’s million dollar annual investment promoting fruit and vegetable consumption or the 1.5 spent on cholesterol education. And that McBillion goes a long way.

Children’s food preferences are being molded by McDonald’s even before they learn to tie their shoelaces. By the early age of 3 to 5 years, preschoolers preferred the taste of foods and drinks if they thought they were from McDonald’s. This was true even for carrots. Baby carrots placed on a bag with McDonald’s logo reportedly tasted better.

And then if they get sick, they can continue to eat McDonald’s in the hospital. Nearly 1 in 3 children’s hospitals had a fast food restaurant inside, leading parents to have more positive perceptions of the healthiness of McDonald’s food. Or they can just buy the naming rights altogether: The Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital.

In teaching hospitals, Krispy Kreme tops the list. Hospitals may wish to revisit the idea of serving high-calorie fast food in the very place where they also care for the most seriously ill.

This is reminiscent of the fight back in the 80s to get tobacco out of hospitals, when public health advocates made radical suggestions like cigarettes should not be sold in the hospital. By working to make our hospitals ultimately smoke-free, we become part of a global campaign to completely eliminate the tobacco scourge. The task is difficult, but so was eradicating smallpox.

Maybe it’s time to stop selling sickness in hospitals.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Poster Boy NYC via Flickr.

The food industry spends billions of advertising. Promotion costs for individual candy bars could run in the tens of millions, and this was years ago. McDonald’s alone spends a billion dollars on advertising every year. Such figures dwarf the National Cancer Institute’s million dollar annual investment promoting fruit and vegetable consumption or the 1.5 spent on cholesterol education. And that McBillion goes a long way.

Children’s food preferences are being molded by McDonald’s even before they learn to tie their shoelaces. By the early age of 3 to 5 years, preschoolers preferred the taste of foods and drinks if they thought they were from McDonald’s. This was true even for carrots. Baby carrots placed on a bag with McDonald’s logo reportedly tasted better.

And then if they get sick, they can continue to eat McDonald’s in the hospital. Nearly 1 in 3 children’s hospitals had a fast food restaurant inside, leading parents to have more positive perceptions of the healthiness of McDonald’s food. Or they can just buy the naming rights altogether: The Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital.

In teaching hospitals, Krispy Kreme tops the list. Hospitals may wish to revisit the idea of serving high-calorie fast food in the very place where they also care for the most seriously ill.

This is reminiscent of the fight back in the 80s to get tobacco out of hospitals, when public health advocates made radical suggestions like cigarettes should not be sold in the hospital. By working to make our hospitals ultimately smoke-free, we become part of a global campaign to completely eliminate the tobacco scourge. The task is difficult, but so was eradicating smallpox.

Maybe it’s time to stop selling sickness in hospitals.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Poster Boy NYC via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

For more on health entities appeasing the junk food industry, see my video Collaboration With the New Vectors of Disease. Even the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the registered dietitian organization, has quite the shady history which I document near the end of my 2014 annual review presentation From Table to Able.

Even cynical me was surprised by my profession’s hostility towards nutrition. See:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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