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Hospital Food Keeps Patients Coming Back: Physicians rate quality of major hospital meals.

Washington, D.C. - "Cutting out cholesterol and reducing the amount of fat in your daily diet will reduce the risk of another heart attack," says a cardiologist to a patient before angioplasty to remove arterial fat deposits. While recovering in the hospital, the same patient is then served cholesterol-rich roast beef, chicken, and seafood Newburg. Is there a contradiction here?

According to the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine of Washington, D.C., this scenario is all too common. In 1997, PCRM released results of a survey of the availability of healthful foods at the nation's top hospitals. Fortunately, not all of the news is bad.

Of 30 hospitals surveyed, 22 offered cholesterol-free, low-fat meals for their patients. Those institutions topping the list include Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, which received top honor; Richland University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Medical Center, University of San Antonio, Texas; and the Medical Center at the University of California in San Francisco.

"A hospital should solve health problems, not aggravate them," said Dr. Andrew Nicholson, PCRM's Director of Preventative Medicine. "Too many hospitals still serve pork chops and chicken and offer few healthier choices. They are missing a chance to educate a captive audience."

Some hospitals now offer the heart-disease reversal program pioneered by Dr. Dean Ornish which offers low-fat vegetarian meals and other products to help clean away heart blockages. Ironically, some hospitals also feature McDonald's food for their staff and visitors, bringing to mind Framingham Heart Study Director William Castelli's comment, "When you see the Golden Arches, you're probably on the road to the Pearly Gates."

The PCRM is a not-for-profit organization that promotes preventative medicine, nutrition and higher standards in research. Founded in 1985, the PCRM now has more than 4,000 physician members and 70,000 associate members. The PCRM publishes the quarterly magazine, Good Medicine.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Words:306
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