NEWARK, NJ – (BUSINESS WIRE) – New Jersey-based physician Saray Stancic, MD ran a successful campaign to convince the university hospital to reduce patient exposure to bacon cheeseburgers and other foods linked to life-threatening conditions such as diabetes and heart disease . At the beginning of April, the hospital’s CEO, Dr. Shereef Elnehal, that the Burger King at the University Hospital has closed. The restaurant has been providing artery-clogging burgers and shakes to visitors, patients, and staff for about 25 years.
For the successful campaign, Dr. Stancic partnered with the Medical Committee – a nonprofit that has more than 12,000 doctors, including 495 in New Jersey. In 2019, a protest by Dr. Stancic and other health professionals presented the Burger King and caught the attention of the hospital’s new CEO Dr. Elnehal. One of Dr. Stancic initiated Change.org petition collected 3,151 signatures. Dr. Stancic, a former senior physician at the university hospital, urged the hospital to adhere to the guidelines for healthy food in health care facilities issued by the American Medical Association (AMA).
“The departure of greasy fast food from the university hospital is a win for visitors, patients and staff,” says Dr. Stancic from Bergen County, New Jersey. “Several life-threatening conditions are associated with high-fat foods like bacon cheeseburgers. The hospital should offer tasty plant-based options that can speed recovery, prevent and even reverse diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. ”
In 2017, Dr. Stancic and the Medical Committee signed Burger King’s contract with the hospital under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act. Doctors contacted the university hospital to indicate that the contract will likely end in 2021. Although there were internal disagreements, the hospital ultimately decided to end its relationship with the fast food chain rather than signing a new contract or going from month to month rental under the original contract.
According to www.MakeHospitalsHealthy.org, there are about 31 hospitals in the United States that offer fast food outlets, including Tampa General Hospital, which houses a McDonald’s, and Texas Children’s Hospital, which houses a McDonald’s and a Chick-Fil-A Express are housed. The Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami houses a Burger King in its parking garage.
Several hospitals have made fast food-free in recent years, including Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, which closed its McDonald’s in 2016. For a list of hospitals that have closed fast food restaurants, visit www.MakeHospitalsHealthy.org.
A study published in the journal traffic found that people who eat fast food once a week increase their risk of dying from heart disease by 20%. Eating two to three fast food meals a week increases the risk of premature death by 50%. Four or more fast food meals a week increase your risk of dying from heart disease by nearly 80%.
Research from the Black Women’s Health Study found that eating two or more servings of hamburgers per week increased your risk of diabetes by 40 percent, and two or more servings of fried chicken per week increased your risk of diabetes by 68 percent.
Patients and healthcare providers are often concerned that healthy foods are more expensive, but the St. Joseph Health System in Sonoma County, California, reports, “Vegetarian entrees are about 50 percent less than meat entrees.” The hospital plans to add US $ 5,000 annually. Save dollars by serving more meat-free meals.
Dr. Stancic discusses the Burger King controversy in her book What is missing in medicine? and her documentary Code Blue.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a non-profit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and promotes higher standards of ethics and effectiveness in research and medical education.