Here's a question, how often have you seen McDonalds or other fast food restaurants somewhere in the hospital? How about if you have ever been at a children's hospital?
In a study recently released, researchers in Pittsburgh are very upset about this. The article is in today's Washington Post and is entitled, "Fast Food at Kids' Hospitals Causing Worry."
The researchers queried 200 pediatric residency programs in 2002-03. About 30 percent, or 59, had fast-food restaurants in their hospitals. McDonald's alone or in combination with other fast-food restaurants were located in 22.The article goes on to say that this sends a mixed message to parents, especially with the growing problem of childhood obesity in the United States (no pun intended).
Now, I totally agree that childhood obesity is a problem. But, do hospitals serve McDonalds in patient rooms? I don't think so. Who buys the fast food for their children? Oh yeah, that's right! The families of children buy the fast food.
Now, I know what you're going to say. "Dr. A, if fast food wasn't IN the hospital, then it wouldn't be a problem." Are fast food places the ONLY places to get food in the hospital? How about parents taking their kids to the hospital cafeteria? I'm sure a children's hospital would choose healthier food for their own cafeteria, right?
Here's are some facts that are left out of the above article. I did a quick search of the website for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Did you know that as of 2004, more than $400 million in grants worldwide have been distributed to benefit children. How many times have you heard about the Ronald McDonald House helping someone you know?
Also, I did a quick scan of the sponsor lists for charities like St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the Children's Miracle Network, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Did you know that they have sponsors like Anheuser-Busch, Wal-Mart, Dairy Queen, and Coca-Cola? Oh no! This is definitely sending the wrong message to children! C'mon, gimme a break.
In my opinion, this Pittsburgh study is another attempt to attack fast food establishments and give parents a free pass on the care of their own children. So, according to this article, the solution is simple - If you want to solve the problem of childhood obesity, go to the hospital cafeteria!