A group of people feel strongly that allowing McDonald's to have a franchise in the lobby of children's hospitals is not appropriate. As noted in a story by Julia Medew in the The Age:
Public health experts are calling for the new Monash Children's Hospital to exclude fast food outlets and say the Royal Children's Hospital should dump its contract with McDonald's because it is creating a "healthy halo effect" that sends the wrong message to families.
With one in four children overweight or obese, Melbourne University public health professor Rob Moodie said Australia's leading paediatric hospitals should not be supporting multinational fast food chains like McDonald's that targeted children.
"It's hard enough to encourage people to eat healthy foods at the moment. We don't need the branding of some of Australia's most prestigious hospitals lending their support to something that is fundamentally promoting a poor diet. There's a real clash of purpose there."
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"I'm also a parent and frankly the notion that it is somehow a bad thing to give a sick child a treat, to give a sibling of a sick child a visit to McDonald's, that is just nonsense and we'll have none of it, none of it at all," he said.
The premier added that "people who would like to tell parents every single thing they ought do and not do" was "nanny statism" that undermined the power of other advice governments give parents.
"The McDonald's is here to stay in this health service as part of a balanced offering and that's exactly the outcome we'll achieve at Monash Children's as well," he said.
"There will be no prohibition as some would like and frankly, they need to get over themselves."
Professor Moodie and Obesity Policy Coalition head Jane Martin, who both spoke out about the issue last month, said Mr Andrews had missed the point.
"It's not really about whether children should be having these treats or not, it's about whether a children's hospital should be seen to be endorsing the kind of food that McDonald's basically sells. They basically sell nuggets and fries," Ms Martin said.
"Hospitals are dealing with a huge burden of diet-related disease ... This is our new smoking."
The whole issue has been brought into the public consciousness worldwide by a coalition called Value [the] Meal Campaign organized in great measure by Corporate Accountability International. It seeks "to restrict predatory junk food marketing to children" and block such restaurants in children's hospitals and in schools.
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