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  1. News Release

  2. Oct 23, 2019

Doctor-Led Protest Will Confront Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s in Texas Children’s Hospital

The Protesters Also Filed a Complaint with the Houston Health Authority

HOUSTON—Texas Children’s Hospital currently hosts a Chick-fil-A Express and a  McDonald’s restaurant, and Houston-area physician Bandana Chawla, MD, will lead a protest with signs urging the hospital to go #FastFoodFree. Protesters will also parody the Chick-fil-A ads with signs that say “Eat More Chickpeas!” The protest will take place Oct. 23 at 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and it’s sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a nonprofit with 12,000 doctor members including 579 in Texas.

The Physicians Committee also filed a complaint on Oct. 22 with the Health Authority of the Houston Health Department, David Persse, MD. As part of its program to improve “access to healthy foods” to reduce diet-related diseases like diabetes, the Houston Health Department should advise Texas Children’s Hospital to offer flavorful, affordable plant-based meals.

What: Fast Food Free and Eat More Chickpeas demonstration to call attention to the Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s meals offered in Texas Children’s Hospital.

Who: Bandana Chawla, MD, and Minh Nguyen, MS, RD, of Physicians Committee will join concerned community members in a peaceful protest 
When: Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Sidewalk on corner of Fannin Street and Holcombe Boulevard, in front of the Wallace Tower of Texas Children’s Hospital (The Chick-fil-A Express is inside the Wallace Tower, and the McDonald’s restaurant is on the first floor of the Abercrombie Building).

“Tasty and affordable meals that include chickpeas and other plant-based foods can help people prevent and even reverse diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, among other benefits,” says Minh Nguyen, MS, RD, of the Physicians Committee. “In Texas, the rates of diet-related diseases like heart disease are too high, and Texas Children’s Hospital can help save lives by promoting fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains.” Chicken is a source of unhealthful saturated fat and cholesterol, while chickpeas are low in fat and contain zero cholesterol. 

Several hospitals have recently closed McDonald’s restaurants including Grady Hospital in Atlanta and  Ben Taub Hospital in Houston. Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore and other hospitals have closed Chick-fil-A restaurants. The Physicians Committee maintains a list of hospitals that host fast-food restaurants, and it provides that information to people who visit About 10 hospitals host McDonald’s restaurants and about 18 offer Chick-fil-A meals, including MD Anderson Cancer Center.

A study published in the journal Circulation  found that people who eat fast food once a week increase their risk of dying from heart disease by 20 percent. Two to three fast-food meals a week increase the risk of premature death by 50 percent. Four or more fast-food meals a week increase the risk of dying from heart disease by nearly 80 percent. 

Research from the Black Women’s Health Study found that eating two or more servings a week of restaurant hamburgers increases the risk of diabetes by 40 percent and that two or more servings of fried chicken a week increases the risk of diabetes by 68 percent.

Patients and health care providers are often concerned that healthful foods are more expensive, but St. Joseph Health System in Sonoma County, Calif., reports, “Vegetarian entrées cost about 50 percent less than meat entrées.” The hospital projects saving $5,000 a year by serving more meat-free meals.

Media Contact

Jeanne Stuart McVey


Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

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