10 January 2012

Unhealthy hospital food: PCRM reports on the 'Top 5 Worst Hospital Food Environments'

Recently PCRM, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has done research on the types of foods available at hospitals nationwide. After a review of 110 hospitals, a list was composed of the top 5 institutions offering the most unhealthy food options.

Now this is a list you are going to want to see:

  1. St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas- this hospital is known for their advancements in heart surgery, so I don't think it's inappropriate when I say it's a little hypocritical for them to allow four, yes FOUR fast food restaurants in their cafeteria. In addition, they offer a fried-chicken bar in case you need that extra artery clogged. Maybe this is their way of making sure they don't run out of patients.
  2. Medical University of South Carolina University Hospital Complex located in Charleston, S.C.- if you thought the four fast food outlets listed at St. Luke's was too much, then skip right onto the next because the Medical University of South Carolina has FIVE! Their cafeteria also serves country-fried steak and other high-fat food options.
  3. Naval Medical Center San Diego Hospital Facility Complex in San Diego, CA- A little better, this hospital offers three fast food outlets. But wait, just when there was hope; it turns out that they provide patients with a menu offering a variety of pork chops, meatball sandwiches, and other high-cholesterol eats. Now that's the way to recover from a heart attack!
  4. Duke University Hospital Complex located in Durham, N.C.- again, this hospital has three fast food outlets in their cafeteria while featuring a cholesterol raising menu to their patients.
  5. Children's Memorial Hospital Complex in Chicago, Ill- you would think this is the best of the list with just one fast food outlet, but think again; the patients are able to choose from a menu of chicken wings, quesadillas with bacon and (gasp) hot dogs!
I'm confused, aren't hospitals and health professionals supposed to be promoting health? Handing a hot dog to a 6-year-old cancer patient or a pork chop to the 60 year old that just had a heart attack probably isn't the brightest idea.

Our cancer and diabetes rates are on a rapid incline in our society and people need to pay more attention. Diet plays a significant role in our health and those working in this profession must take more responsibility in the promotion of a healthy diet.

I must say, the patients aren't the only ones suffering from the lack of healthy options available at these hospitals, what about the staff? Nurses, doctors, and employees pulling 12 or more hour shifts run down to the cafeteria for a quick bite and are quite limited in their options.

It turns out that patients and doctors are starting to notice the lack of concern for this issue and are beginning to take a stand. One participant in a sleep study took photos of the meal she was served which included fried food, a soda, and a cookie, and sent it to PCRM.

We all have a voice and should use it to stand up for the health of ourselves and our loved ones!

Thank you to PCRM for taking the initiative to bring this issue to light and provide the facts.

Laeticia Butler | @Vegwritingmomma | Facebook | Blog
Baltimore, MD After suffering with health issues for two years, Laeticia became a vegan and was able to go from barely walking to running 5Ks. She became well aware of the cruelty to animals through research during her life change. In doing so, Laeticia discovered a newfound love and respect for animals and works hard to teach her son why we don't eat them. She is currently training for her first half marathon. One of Laeticia's goals as a writer and blogger is to help motivate others to living a healthier lifestyle through a healthy diet and fitness.

Photo credit: Roger Kirby