WASHINGTON—Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minn., will end its lease with the fast-food restaurant McDonald’s on May 31, 2016. The decision comes a year after the Physicians Committee—a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors—brought attention to Abbott and other hospitals with McDonald’s contracts in the report Hazardous Hospital Foods: How Fast Food Jeopardizes Public Health.
“Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s decision to ban Big Macs is a boon for patient health,” says Angie Eakin, M.D., a physician at the Barnard Medical Center. “Fatty fast food can exacerbate heart disease and diabetes—the leading causes of hospitalization—so taking milkshakes and chicken nuggets off the menu should be priority No. 1 for all hospitals.”
Three other hospitals featured in the Physicians Committee’s report have also ended contracts with McDonald’s this year. In September, Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s top hospital for heart health announced the termination of its decades-old contract with McDonald’s. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Texas have also ended partnerships with the fast-food chain.
A study in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that on days that people eat fast food they consume significantly more calories and saturated fat. Another study in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that hospital food is “a largely untapped resource for public health that may help to arrest increasing rates of obesity and diet-related health problems.”
More than 9,000 people have signed the Physicians Committee’s Make Hospital Patient Rooms Fast Food–Free petition.
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 and medical training.