A new report from the vegetarian advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) gauging hospital food environments concludes that hospitals hosting fast food restaurant units tend to get the lowest scores based on PMCR’s criteria.
The 2016 report on hospital food environments was compiled from a survey of 262 hospitals, including the 50 largest public hospitals and at least one hospital in every state.
“Hospitals that are fast food free and instead have rooftop gardens earn the highest scores,” said Karen Smith, R.D., senior dietitian for the Physicians Committee, in a statement accompanying the release of the report. “Hospital gardens provide fresh vegetables for hot soup and other plant-based patient meals that can prevent or reverse diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.”
PCRM also used state open records laws to secure the patient menus at 24 hospitals as well as a Chick-fil-A contract with the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), a McDonald’s contract with Broward General Medical Center in Florida and a “heavily redacted” Wendy’s contract from Wexner Medical Center in Ohio.
UMMC and others that host fast food restaurants earned lower scores in PCRM’s 2016 report while those earning the highest patient food scores included Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, Aspen Valley (Colo.) Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.
PCRM plans to target the 20 U.S. hospitals hosting Chick-fil-A units with an advertising campaign scheduled to start Jan. 25.
PCRM’s release notes that several hospitals named in its previous reports have recently closed McDonald’s units that had been operating on their premises. They include Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Texas, Memorial Regional Hospital in Florida, Riley Children’s Hospital in Indiana and the Cleveland Clinic. Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minnesota recently announced it will soon close its McDonald’s, ending its contract early.