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At the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, regarded as one of the finest hospitals in the world, you can eat a Big Mac and have cardio bypass surgery within the same building.

I literally have spent the last 30 mins getting my mind around this latest find. It is the most blatant example of everything that is wrong with our health care system; why this system creates enormous hurdles for anyone trying to break free of junk food marketing barrage.

I read a couple of articles last week that highlighted an advocacy group petitioning to have McDonald’s removed from hospitals. I had to do a quick double take when I saw the headline but upon review it did not seem that out of whack all things considered. It would be very odd that anyone would oppose such a thing?

Why not put a McDonald’s in a hospital? At this point what is the difference. We might as well look at setting up cocktail lounges at local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting spots… the customers are already there right?

I examined awhile back the sheer size of the industry that exists to make us “sick” and to make us “healthy”. We have a large number of billion dollar entities that cater to our nations obesity and that is not going to change anytime soon.

A large portion of a hospital’s revenue is directly tied to chronic diseases and we know 80% of chronic disease is caused by obesity.

Having a McDonald’s in a Hospital is a perfect setup and could not illustrate the symbiotic relationship between food and health more clearly. It demonstrates the complete lack of logic that the health system embraces; and the utter lack of common sense by those who provide it. Most hospitals that I have financially studied depend on 50% or more from Medicare & Medicaid. So our tax dollars are supporting the mindset that would allow a McDonald’s to coexist within a hospital.

No one is talking about nutrition because no one has an incentive to pitch it. No one even has the ability to say; You think a McDonald’s in our cardiac ward is a good idea? What type of image does that portray to our patients? It surely does not promote an image that our hospital cares about your health, or that we are even vaguely aware of the scientific evidence that exists surrounding the dangers of eating high fat junk food.

One more thing, don’t blame McDonalds. They agree there food is a poor choice and simply feel if you are dumb enough to eat it you might as well be near a hospital. They are doing us a favor… in fact they should consider opening hospitals as part of their expansion plans.

“McDonald’s maintains that it offers food to suit any diet, and says it is not to blame for people’s poor choices.”

“Today, we offer more variety than ever in our menu and we trust that our customers will make the appropriate choices for them, their families and lifestyles,” Danya Proud, spokesperson for McDonald’s, told NPR.

The bottom line is the only priority is money. The health care system is not in business to make you healthy. If it was, they would not have a McDonald’s in the lobby, PERIOD. You have to take care of yourself in this world. You cannot rely on expert opinions, you cannot rely on studies or data supporting particular issues. The only thing you can control is the food that goes in your mouth. Make the best choices for yourself on a daily basis.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:13 AM EDT

Evict McDonald’s From Hospitals, Demands Advocacy Group

By Amir Khan

At over two dozen hospitals across the country, hospital patients can grab a Big Mac as they wait for their test results. Hospitals and fast food chains are strange bedfellows indeed, as more than 20 percent of all national healthcare expenditures is spent managing obesity-related health problems. Now, 2000 health professionals have backed a petition urging the two dozen hospitals that are home to a McDonald’s to evict the restaurants from the property.

The petition was created by Corporate Accountability International, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, and calls for hospitals to stop nurturing a food environment that endorses unhealthy eating. By allowing fast-food restaurants inside a hospital, you’re helping them sustain a façade that eating there is not a hazard your health, according to the petition.

“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,” the organization wrote in the petition “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.”

Fast food restaurants play a critical role in the obesity epidemic, according to a study by the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Countries that have more fast food restaurants have a higher obesity rate.

Over 35 percent of adults in the U.S. older than 20 years old are obese. In 1985, no state had an obesity rate higher than 14 percent. By 2010, no state had an obesity rate lower than 20 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medical costs associated with obesity accounts for $190 billion annually.

The rising obesity rate makes it imperative that hospitals stop enabling fast-food restaurants to “coopt the health community” and to “deflect blame for the epidemic of disease that it has helped drive, and to pose itself as part of the solution,” Corporate Accountability International wrote in the petition.

McDonald’s maintains that it offers food to suit any diet, and says it is not to blame for people’s poor choices.

“Today, we offer more variety than ever in our menu and we trust that our customers will make the appropriate choices for them, their families and lifestyles,” Danya Proud, spokesperson for McDonald’s, told NPR.

Getting rid of the fast-food chain might be difficult, Bill Barum, director of hospitality and retail services for the Cleveland Clinic, an Ohio hospital that houses a McDonald’s, told NPR. The restaurants are usually under contracts that are difficult to break.

Although his hospital is aware of the petition, Edwin O’Dell, spokesman for Jackson Health System in Miami, Fla. said his hospital will not terminate the existing contract it has with McDonald’s.

“McDonalds is a part of Jackson Memorials Hospital’s retail campus which includes several other restaurants,” he said. “The contracts at each of these facilities are reviewed at the end of each contract period. Jackson is one the largest medical facilities and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are committed to providing our visitors and employees with a variety of food options.”

McDonald’s isn’t the only fast-food giant to set up shop in hospitals — Subway, Pizza Hut and Chick-fil-A have contracts with hospitals as well. Some hospitals even have multiple fast food restaurants.

The Texas Children’s Hospital Complex was crowned the worst hospital food environment by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in 2011. The hospital contains four fast-food restaurants including a McDonald’s and a Chick-fil-A. The cafeteria food is unhealthy as well, according to a PCRM report.

“The hospital’s cafeteria menu is dominated by heart-unfriendly, high-fat foods, including a fried-chicken bar,” the report said. “Patient food features high-fat, high-cholesterol items such as chicken Florentine and grilled hamburgers.”

The top five worst hospital food environments all involved at least one fast-food restaurant.

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