With obesity and diabetes rates in the United States at an all-time high, physicians and patients alike should also be increasingly concerned about the foods hospitals serve in their cafeterias. Many fast food chains have set up shop in hospitals over the years, while the institutions' own cafeterias tend to offer high-fat, high-cholesterol foods, processed meats, and other unhealthful menu options known to cause high cholesterol and even cancer in some cases.
In 2011, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) began investigating the foods that over 110 U.S. hospitals in 50 states serve to patients, visitors, and staff. After analyzing the number of fast-food outlets each contained and the healthfulness of the menu items in its cafeterias, they released a report detailing their findings. Sadly, most hospital menus are dominated by greasy, high-fat, and high-cholesterol foods.
The hypocrisy of a place of health and wellness supporting unhealthy eating habits has many health-conscious citizens enraged. Not only are hospital patients and guests confronted with unhealthful menu options on the day of their visit, but they also receive a warped perception of what comprises "healthy" foods. These very same institutions teach that environments laden with fast food restaurants and junk food marketing have profoundly negative impacts on children's lifelong eating habits and overall health.
It's time for these medical facilities to practice what they preach. Countless unknowing citizens entrust hospitals as their local health authorities and these institutions should accordingly offer healthy food environments. Rather than fried chicken and hot dogs dripping in grease, hospital cafeterias should serve low-fat, plant-based menus items rich in fruits and vegetables that provide nutritional advantages and reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and diet-related diseases.