When you think of hospital food, usually thoughts of bland, microwavable dishes fill your head, reminding you of the worst school lunch programs ever. But when you visit a loved one in the hospital, there are times when you stay a little little longer than expected, and you need something convenient to hold you over. Consequently, a lot of hospitals have responded to this demand by allowing McDonald’s and other fast-food chains to serve visitors and staff on their campuses.
Considering the national awareness of obesity-related illnesses, many activists are demanding that fast-food restaurants cease and desist its operations on hospital grounds.
According to Fox News, Corporate Accountability International sent letters to 22 U.S. hospitals with McDonald’s franchises, urging them to “stop fostering a food environment that promotes harm, not health.”
Citing the grim facts on obesity in America, where almost two-thirds of the population are either obese or overweight, the watchdog group is putting the pressure on McDonald’s in particular because of what they call “predatory marketing to children.”
In a written response to the campaign against them, McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said the company is proud of its evolving menu, which offers a wide variety of options, including many that are low in fat, sodium, and calories. “It’s not about where you eat,” she claimed. It’s about “how much a person chooses to consume.”
But the Corporate Accountability is not buying what the Mickey-D’s spokeswoman is selling. Sara Deon, the project director, argues that fast-food is one reason so many kids are obese. So it’s indefensible, in her view, for hospitals to give aid and comfort to the biggest fast-food company of all. “It really runs counter to the goals of a health institution,” she said.
This seems like this will be a contentious issue for a long while, as many hospitals are indebted to the charitable donations from McDonald’s philanthropy wing, The Ronald McDonald House.
According to the Miami Herald, Broward Health in Weston, Florida depends heavily on McDonald’s Corp. for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, which according to Broward’s spokeswoman Jenny Mackie, “was instrumental in funding the opening.”
Meanwhile, in its letters to hospitals, Corporate Responsibility said: “It’s really no surprise McDonald’s sites stores in hospitals. After all, for decades, McDonald’s has attempted to co-opt the health community, to deflect blame for the epidemic of disease that it has helped drive, and to pose itself as part of the solution.”
It seems like this debate will force hospitals to make a choice, one way or another but one thing is for certain, this issue of obesity is not going anywhere, especially as America’s waistline continues to expand.