WASHINGTON—The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates has adopted a resolution calling on hospitals to provide plant-based meals and remove processed meats from menus.
“RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association hereby call on US hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by (1) providing a variety of healthful food, including plant-based meals and meals that are low in fat, sodium, and added sugars, (2) eliminating processed meats from menus, and (3) providing and promoting healthful beverages.”
The resolution was co-sponsored by the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and the American College of Cardiology.
The Physicians Committee—a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors—commends the AMA on its leadership in improving hospital food environments. Numerous scientific studies show that healthful, plant-based meals can prevent and even reverse heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The AMA’s second recommendation, to remove processed meat from menus, is also supported by strong scientific evidence. The World Health Organization warns that processed meats, including hot dogs, and bacon, are “carcinogenic to humans” and there is no amount safe for consumption.
“Hospitals that provide and promote fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are likely to reduce readmissions, speed recovery times, and measurably improve the long-term health of visitors, patients, and staff,” says James Loomis, M.D., M.B.A., medical director of the Barnard Medical Center.
Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, N.Y., is nearly in compliance with the new AMA resolution. The hospital provides patients with vegetables from its rooftop garden and features healthful plant-based options on its patient menu. The New York Times reports that Stony Brook University Hospital’s head chef has banished bacon, soda, and hot dogs. In the Physicians Committee’s 2016 Hospital Food Report, Stony Brook University Hospital and Aspen Valley Hospital were tied for the top Patient Food Score.
Earlier this year, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, Miss., announced it would remove hot dogs from its patient menus. This places the four hospitals on the UMMC campus on the path toward compliance with the AMA’s recommendation on processed meat.
To prompt this change, Physicians Committee placed a billboard near UMMC's Batson Children’s Hospital and sent a letter urging the hospital to protect patients from #HazardousHotDogs which, with other processed meats, are linked to high risk of colorectal cancer. Hot dogs are also the No. 1 choking risk for children.
Mississippi is in the colon cancer corridor, a cluster of nine states with high death rates from colorectal cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to the billboard in Mississippi, Physicians Committee placed hard-hitting billboards and other advertisements near several other children’s hospitals located in the colon cancer corridor. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Louisiana chapter, tweeted its support of this initiative.
For an interview with Dr. Loomis or another Physicians Committee expert, journalists please contact Jeanne McVey at 202-527-7316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.