Bus shelter ads will criticize fast food restaurant at hospital

A nonprofit group that promotes healthy eating and especially vegetarian and vegan choices, plans to install five bus-shelter advertisements near the Medical Center, Navicent Health, criticizing its restaurants.

“Artery-clogging cheeseburgers and chicken have no place inside a hospital,” Karen Smith of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said in a news release. “The Medical Center, Navicent Health, could help bring down Macon’s high rates of diet-related diseases by offering healthful, plant-based options that appeal to visitors, patients, and staff.”

The group is directing the ads, which are about 6 feet by 4 feet, toward McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A.

A McDonald’s is in Navicent’s building on Pine Street. However, the Chick-fil-A, which was located on the first floor of the Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health, was closed in April due to the reconstruction of that facility.

The “hard-hitting” bus shelter ads are scheduled to be installed next week and are timed to get the attention of Navicent Health’s board of directors prior to its board meeting on Thursday, the release said.

The ad directed toward McDonald’s states, “Your Heart’s No Lovin’ Those Cheesburgers,” and the other one intended for Chick-fil-A says, “Does Greasy Chicken Feed Disease?” Both ads pose the question: “Ask your local hospital to go #FastFoodFree!”

The ads would be installed at the corner of Hemlock and First streets, one on Pine Street near the emergency room entrance, two on Riverside Drive at Spring Street and one on Poplar Street near Second Street.

“The Medical Center, Navicent Health provides a number of dining options for the convenience of our guests, including a number of cafeterias and cafes offering a variety of affordable, locally sourced menu options,” Tim Slocum, vice president of system support services, said in an emailed response to a request for comment from The Telegraph. “We currently have a lease with a local McDonald’s franchisee, and plan to uphold the terms of that agreement.”

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also mailed a letter of complaint this week to Beverlyn Ming, the interim administrator at the Macon-Bibb County Health Department. The letter asks the health department to “publicly recognize that restaurant chains that provide high-fat, unhealthful food have no place in Macon-Bibb County hospitals,” according to a copy provided The Telegraph. “To protect the health of staff, patients, and visitors, only vendors that offer low-cost, healthful, plant-based options should be allowed. As the health department’s interim administrator, would you consider supporting this position?”

Ming said late Wednesday that she had not received a copy of the letter and wasn’t aware of the issue.

The letter states that Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta had closed its McDonald’s restaurant in 2016.

The Physicians Committee states it is a nonprofit health organization of 12,000 physicians “who promote preventive medicine, conduct clinical research and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.”

Linda S. Morris: 478-744-4223, @MidGaBiz