McDonald’s is everywhere. I’m sure you’ve noticed that you can’t go very far without seeing one of the fast food giant’s stores, but you may not know that even in a hospital you can get a Big Mac and fries.
Twenty-two hospitals in the United States currently have a McDonald’s inside – really! Vegan.com, which calls the situation “absolutely shameful, and a great embarrassment to the hospitals and to McDonald’s alike,” reports that 7 of the 22 hospitals are for children.
According to a press release, Corporate Accountability International has teamed up with medical professionals in an effort to get the hospitals to ditch McD’s, part of their larger Value [the] Meal campaign.
“Every day, parents, children, and health professionals turn to your institution for advice on well-being, for support in preventing and treating illness, and for sustaining a healthy community. As a hospital, you serve as a local authority on health, and as such, the community you serve looks to you and to your environment as a guide for their wellbeing. However, in your role as a local health leader, you have allowed McDonald’s—a corporation that has disregarded public health in the name of profits—to operate within an environment devoted to helping our children get well,” writes Sara Deon, Value [the] Meal campaign director, writes in her letter to the hospitals.
She adds, “A 2006 study published in Pediatrics concluded that by allowing a McDonald’s store to operate inside your facility, you are not just affecting hospital guests’ consumption on the day of their visit, but you are unintentionally boosting your guests’ perception of the “healthfulness” of McDonald’s food. In other words, your hospital is being used as part of McDonald’s comprehensive marketing strategy, a strategy that is clearly inconsistent with your goals as a health institution.”
Dr. Francine Kaufman of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, one of the 22 hospitals, has spoken out too. “Kids are being treated for diet-related conditions like diabetes on one floor in the hospital and given the wrong message by being offered the world’s most recognized junk food brand on another floor in the hospital. The practice earns McDonald’s an undeserved association with healthfulness among parents and children alike…and it should be curtailed,” she said.
The Value [the] Meal campaign also asks fast food companies like McDonald’s to stop marketing to children, provide information about the health risks of their food, reduce health risks, and contribute health care costs of diet-related illnesses, among other efforts.