Allina Health, a nonprofit healthcare group with 13 hospitals and 90 clinics, says it is terminating its relationship with McDonald’s and removing sugary beverages and fried foods from its hospital cafeterias.
Health begins with what’s on your plate and the activities you participate in. Unfortunately, there are many in the United States who haven’t grasped this simple truth and are expecting a quick-fix pill or potion to remedy their health problems in the near future.
The sad reality is that every year, the number of people who die from preventable diseases increases. There is good news, however. According to the CDC, up to 40% of the leading causes of death could be prevented if people put in the effort to eat healthier, move their body, think more pleasant thoughts (meditation and yoga can reduce healthcare costs by 43%!), and rid their household of toxic cleaners and beauty products.
On the forefront of this awakening is Allina Health, a nonprofit healthcare group with 13 hospitals and 90 clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The major hospital chain says it is terminating its relationship with McDonald’s and removing sugary beverages and fried foods from its hospital cafeterias.
It might be shocking to learn that hospitals in the Western world have McDonald’s on their premises, but the many managed by Allina Health are not the only ones. At least twenty-two hospitals in the United States offer McDonald’s food, and 7 of them are specifically for children.
This embarrassment has been reported on before, but little has been done to exchange McD’s low-quality food for organic, plant-based, high-vibrational fare – until now.
The Star Tribune reports that the move is part of an initiative called “Choose Healthy” which the health care group hopes will help both patients and staff lead healthier lives.
Said Dr. Penny Wheeler, Allina’s president and chief executive:
“As an organization focused on health, it is our responsibility to model and encourage healthy choices.”
Some of the hospitals managed by Allina Health, including Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, have been under pressure from health advocacy groups to evict McDonald’s and the unhealthy vending and cafeteria options for a while now. According to the Star Tribune, McDonald’s has been served at Abbott’s hospital for more than 25 years.
In the past, the fast food establishment upgraded its menu to include oatmeal, salads, yogurt, and fruit, but it wasn’t enough for health advocates.
There is something to be said about Ronald McDonald Houses – the charitable arm of the franchise that houses patients undergoing long-term treatments. The fund has contributed millions of dollars to the Twin Cities region locations – and other hospitals across the states, allowing families who might not be able to afford medical care much-needed treatment.
However, it’s now well-known that food plays a big part in the creation and maintenance of health, and McDonald’s fare just isn’t up to par.
There’s ample evidence that diets high in low-quality fat and refined sugars contribute to diseases of affluence, therefore, Allina Health has terminated its lease with McDonald’s ten years before it expired. The organization even paid for the early termination.
The move was applauded by Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ed Ehlinger. He said in a statement:
“Deep-fried foods and sugar-sweetened drinks have little nutritional value, and Allina Health’s elimination of these foods and beverages, along with the introduction of a greater variety of healthy options, sends a strong and positive message to patients, employees, and the broader community.”
Other hospitals are beginning to offer healthier food options, too. For example, a major hospital chain in Vermont plans to remove genetically modified foods from its menu and implement more organic options. Perhaps in the future, more hospital chains will follow Allina Health’s lead.
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