I just had to share this with you. I just got back from a weekend at Nationwide Children’s hospital in Columbus, OH with my daughter who had come down with pneumonia (she’s fine now). Our first day at the hospital was spent in the ER, and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. By the time they got my daughter settled into her room at 5pm, my adrenaline wore off and I was suddenly starving and could feel a bad headache coming on so I went looking for some food and a Coke in hopes of staving it off. I don’t normally drink soda because it doesn’t quench my thirst, but I knew a nice jolt of caffeine would do me some good. However, there was no Coke to be found. The hospital has a new “no sugar-sweetened drinks” policy. Here’s a link to it: http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/hospital-visitor-guide
“To promote the health and well-being of our patients, families and staff, we will not sell or offer sugar-sweetened beverages that have no nutritional value. As one of the nation’s leading pediatric health care and research institutes, we are committed to addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity and creating and supporting a healthy work environment for employees.”
Uh, but they sell sports drinks and Vitamin Water and diet soda. For health reasons. So gross.
I’d like to address this issue when I fill out my survey with more than just emotional ranting about the fact that I am a grown woman and if I want a Coke while my daughter is in the hospital, I should darn well be able to acquire one easily, and I was hoping you could give me some studies/links off the top of your head that I could include that would combat the ridiculous nature of this policy. -Lise
I have been remiss in getting her any studies (sorry, just pretty busy these days and this kind of thing would need some thinking. I am sure they have an “obesity task force” armed to the hilt with their studies…) Oh, and here is my favorite quote from their policy…
“What if a patient needs regular soda for a medical reason? Answer: Regular Coke and Sprite will be available for patients who meet certain criteria. The hospital’s nurses and physicians will be able to assist with obtaining these items.”
What do you think about policies like this? Is it going too far? Is it OK for hospitals to have McDonalds and Taco Bell in them? Is Subway OK, but not KFC? What if they ban all juice, and you’re a diabetic having a low sugar incident? Is this really going to help? Is the message that calories are the most important factor helpful (since in this case that seems to be the deciding factor)? Are there unintended consequences to this kind of thinking, like banning chocolate milk and having so many more kids lose out on the protein, calcium and 7 other vital nutrients from milk? When 8th graders start skipping breakfast to save calories- after being brainwashed for years with “how many calories does it take to work-off your orange juice”- should anyone be surprised?? I’m not saying 6 year-olds should drink soda, but this kind of knee-jerk reaction misses the point and can mess things up even more.
Here are a few of my random thoughts. I would reach for the same thing in this tired and stressed-out mom’s scenario. I am on antibiotics again (which I hate) and my system is off. When I don’t feel good, I often crave Coke and grease, or chicken pho… When I feel tired, or headachey, or sometimes darn it, I just want a Coke. Sometimes I drink the whole can, but most of the time I get a glass full of ice and drink about half a regular can. I remember post-C-section the hospital food was such crap. No flavor, nothing made from scratch, institutional food to the max. I ate PB and J for 4 days straight. I think of my mom’s experience in a hospital in Germany where an oncology nutritionist visited her, and the salads were as good as any restaurant, with fresh (ie not already wilted from a giant bag) lettuce and veggies and home-made vinaigrette, with scratch soups with potatoes and leeks and roasted meats. America seems to not get it. Ban Coke, but keep serving tasteless, “healthy” crap. It’s joyless, tasteless and it’s not making anyone skinny, oops, I mean “healthy.” (sarcasm)
Oh, and why is Diet Soda OK? Does it provide “nutritional value?” Will they stop serving white potatoes, or white rice, as some school districts are doing? Now, you don’t need to eat fries every day at school, but my goodness, would some home-made mashed potatoes be the end of the world?
Will they ban all vending machines and install water fountains so that you have to climb up three flights of stairs to get to?
Who decides what is “healthy?”
Another thing I thought about was residency, where twice a week I was on call, and around 3 am I would have a Pepsi and a bag of Doritos. It was the only time I ate it, it gave me something to do and look forward to. Is that so awful? My weight was stable all throughout, which is miraculous considering how screwed up my sleep was, how stressed, and how little exercise I got. Maybe if they want employees to be healthy they should enforce fair wages, fair hours, limiting shift-work, refuting diets, install a walkway around the grounds, or have a pleasant gym that is free, or a meditation center… Anyway, I just think this is so annoying. It’s paternalistic, simplistic and misguided.
Instead of offering us fewer choices, why not offer more? I rarely see vending machines with milk, or fruit nectars, or machines that offer fruits or cheese sticks or even a sandwich. Banning and deprivation is rarely the answer.
Thanks for reading my mini-rant. What say you?