Yahoo – AFP, Luc Olinga, 9 Nov 2014
The hospitals of the Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Missouri no longer
serve fast food in their cafeterias, after ending a contract with McDonald's in 2012
-- two years ahead of schedule (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
New York (AFP) - The hospitals of the Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Missouri no longer serve fast food in their cafeterias, after ending a contract with McDonald's in 2012 -- two years ahead of schedule.
In Kentucky, Kosair Children's Hospital signed up to serve Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets to its patients when it opened in 1986. But it has now followed in TMC's footsteps.
The reversals by hospital chains that once embraced McDonald's reflect a waning love affair with fast food in the United States, as consumers become increasingly aware of the benefits of eating better.
The reversals by hospital chains reflect a
waning love affair with fast food in the
United States, as consumers become
increasingly aware of the benefits of
eating better (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)
"We thought that we needed to change the game a little bit and start creating a culture of health," Bluford told AFP.
"It was a health-concerned decision and a mission-driven decision, given our mission to improve the health of our community."
Sales of McDonald's in the United States fell 3.3 percent in the last quarter. The consumption of sodas fell last year to 1995 levels, according to the industry specialist Beverage Digest.
Americans drank on the average 51 gallons (nearly 200 liters) of soda per person in 1998; last year, it was 44 gallons.
The fall is more marked for light sodas, which fell six percent amid concerns sparked by studies suggesting some synthetic sweeteners were carcinogenic.
"There's a shift away from the perception of food that is mass-produced towards food that is perceived to be more homemade or artisanal or sustainably produced," said Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
"Consumers want to feel that they're doing healthier things and eating a healthier diet."
More and more Americans are making the link between fast food and sodas, and life-long health problems like obesity and diabetes, said Sriram Madhusoodanan, an organizer of the anti-fast-food campaign "Value [the] Meal" at Corporate Accountability International.
Campaigns like theirs are scoring gains against the powerful industry.
In December 2011, San Francisco required fast food chains to add more low-sugar, low-salt foods like fruit and vegetables for children.
And those campaigns are also showing results.
The US Centers for Disease Control said in February that there had been a 43 percent fall in obesity among two- to five-year-olds over the previous decade.
Much more needs to be done, according to the organization Trust for America's Health. More than two-thirds of adult Americans remain overweight, it says.
Christopher Gindlesperger, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, downplayed the role sodas play in the health problem.
Because of the greater popularity of low-sugar sodas, he said, the amount of sugar consumed from sodas has fallen 40 percent in the last 10 years.
Sugar-related diseases "are very serious and very complex," he said.
"If you look at the government data, you see that calories in the American diet from sodas are just a small piece of the overall (total)... We empower our customers to make the choices that are right for them."
The success of the restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill symbolizes the new face of the American diet.
Launched in 1993, Chipotle advertises that it uses hormone-free meat and locally-raised organic vegetables.
More and more Americans are making the
link between fast food and sodas, and
life-long health problems like obesity and
diabetes (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)
"So from the beginning, we were doing something which is pretty different than what was happening in traditional American fast food."
Fast food chains are reacting to the new social and market pressure. McDonald's has eliminated some of its controls on franchises to allow them to adapt menus to customers' tastes.
Last year, Taco Bell phased out its children's menu. And drink companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are expanding their beverage lines with lower-sugar options.
McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Pepsi did not respond to requests for comment from AFP.
For Madhusoodanan, the real change will come when McDonald's stops tempting children with toys to sell its "Happy Meals".
"They are changing, they're coming around because the public is now demanding it. They have to change," said Bluford.
(13) Question: Dear Kryon, I’m very concerned about the obesity epidemic, particularly in the U.S. Around me I see people getting bigger and more unhealthy, all for the sake of convenience and saving time. You mentioned at one point a famine, and I suspect the famine won’t be from a lack of food, but from an abundance of food that has no nutritional value.
I wonder how we can honor the Earth by eating nothing that comes straight from it? Of course this involves caring for the lands and oceans as part of a bigger issue and making that connection, too. Is this what it will finally take for people to switch to a healthier way of living?
Its amazing how detached people are from the food they eat. We don’t even honor our digestive processes, the way we combine foods. Whatever happened to nutrition? Atkins is no solution; there is no balance in it. Gastric bypass is all about quantity reduction, not quality increase. When will people make the direct connection between what/how they eat and their health? Is a change in diet and lifestyle part of the upcoming shift?
Answer: The shift has little to do with it. It’s a culture-specific problem and has to do with consciousness of health. Go study the cultures on your planet that have very few overweight Humans. Start with the Japanese. They have some of the same western work ethics and live in very sophisticated industrial-based environments. Yet they aren’t overweight. It’s about the core food groups and the combination of them.
(39) Question: Dear Kryon: I've noticed how many children are developing severe allergies to foods (my daughter included). When I've researched this, it seems that most of the allergies are essentially to seeds, grains, legumes, eggs, and dairy. I've noticed that these foods all hold the potential for life, or in the case of dairy, are essentially used to sustain the first stages of life in an animal's baby. My feeling is that because we're not releasing the life force within these foods (that is, sprouting, etc.), they're becoming harmful to us. I would like your impressions of this.
Answer: For thousands of years, these foods have worked for humanity. In these cases you speak about, the main culprit continues to be the way in which these foods are collected and processed. You won't find these allergies in third-world countries, and you won't find them within the children who work on farms, where they eat the foods directly. There will eventually have to come a day when you relax some of your efficiency attributes and go back to the way food was meant to be collected and eaten. And yes... there are effects from how the dairy animals are treated, too. Going back to some basics will help, and so will eliminating some of the procedures that supposedly create a "safer food." These procedures have instead made them begin to look like foreign food to the Human body.
(15) Question: Dear Kryon, please help us understand the increase of allergies. What can we do to heal this phenomenon?
Answer: Reduce the steps in your food chain, which are adding chemistry to fresh food.