Nation's leading hospitals serving up fast food

ANN ARBOR, MI A trip to the hospital usually means either you or someone you know is in poor health and needs immediate medical attention. And when it's time to go home, most likely, your doctor will give you a list of do's and don'ts, including eat a healthy diet and make sure to exercise. So, when you see your favorite fast food restaurant inside the hospital that just told you to eat healthy, you may be getting a mixed message a message it appears many of the nation's top health institutions are sending.

In a research letter published in the June 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System and Ann Arbor VA Medical Center found 38 percent of the nation's top health institutions had regional or national fast food franchises on their main medical campuses. It's a statistic that is alarming to the authors of the letter.

"Obesity is rising at an alarming rate in the United States, with nearly 18 percent of adult Americans now considered obese. High-calorie diets, due in part to fast food, are partially to blame," says Peter Cram, M.D., lead author of the letter and lecturer in the internal medicine department at UMHS. "However, fast food restaurants continue to pop up across the country and hospitals appear to be no exception."

The researchers performed a telephone survey of 16 facilities listed as "Honor Roll" hospitals by the 2001 U.S. News & World Report ranking of "America's Best Hospitals". Six of the 16 "Honor Roll" hospitals were found to have fast food restaurants, with four facilities contracting with 2 chains simultaneously.

Among the six with fast food chains includes the University of Michigan Health System, an observation that, says co-author Brahmajee Nallamothu, M.D., inspired their research.

"I always found it odd that as a health institution we had a fast food chain in our facility, and I wondered if other top hospitals also did," s

Contact: Carrie Hagen or Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System

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