Feel like gobbling a greasy Big Mac while you wait for test results at the hospital? It's easier than you might think to find a Mickey D's in health-care facilities, which is why the watchdog organization, Corporate Accountability International, is calling for the removal of McDonald's franchises from clinics nationwide, including the prestigious Cleveland Clinic and seven children's hospitals. The group's motion, endorsed by 2,000 health professionals, urges hospitals to end their contracts with McDonald's and "stop fostering a food environment that promotes harm, not health." Considering that 35 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese and McDonald's success is tied to the epidemic, should hospitals rid themselves of the golden arches?
Yes, McDonald's has no place in hospitals: Hospitals that allow the chain to do business on their premises are feeding the perception that the fast-food joint isn't harmful, says Rupert Shepherd at Medical News Today. It's "akin to... allowing cigarette vending machines in their staff cafeteria areas." It's high time that hospitals ban junk food.
"Hospitals told to give Big Mac the boot"
But McDonald's doesn't just sell traditional fast food: "Today, we offer more variety than ever in our menu, McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud tells NPR, pointing to options like salads or apple slices. "We trust that our customers will make the appropriate choices." Besides, McDonald's is hardly the only fast-food chain present in hospitals. Some health facilities house as many as five different fast-food outlets, according to a 2011 survey by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Why single out McDonald's?
"Fast food chains in cafeterias put hospitals in a bind"
Getting rid of fast-food places is easier said than done: "In many cases," says Kim Painter at USA Today, "long-standing contracts — created before hospitals adopted what some call a 'culture of wellness' — keep unwelcome food vendors in place." The Cleveland Clinic tried to kick McDonald's out in 2005, but failed because the fast-food joint still had a contract. Still, when the time does come to renew these contracts, hospitals can choose to opt out as they see fit — or unfit.
"Do McDonald's burgers and fries belong in hospitals?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Internet piracy isn't killing Hollywood
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- This 1,600-year-old Viking war game is still awesome
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- 10 things you need to know today: August 21, 2014
- The fascinating political evolution of Paul Ryan
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
Subscribe to the Week