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Hospital tries to remove mcdonalds from premises

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Hospital vs. McDonald's in Fast Food Fight
Leading Hospital Tries to Remove McDonald's From Its Premises

Dec. 21, 2004 - The Cleveland Clinic -- the nation's leading center for cardiac care -- has decided the McDonald's restaurant in its food court just isn't a good fit with health care.

Virtually all the nation's nutritionists say fast food is not what Americans should be eating.

"We have a lot of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons that have been saying for a while, you know, we need to make a change," said clinic spokeswoman Angela Calman. "We need to be a role model."

After Dr. Toby Cosgrove was named the clinic's new chief executive officer, he launched something of a health crusade. Smoking may soon be banned -- even directly outside the clinic -- and vending machines may soon be cleaned out.

Cosgrove has already done away with the clinic's Pizza Hut, and indications are that the Starbucks coffee shop and Subway sandwich store may not be far behind.

"The bottom line is, we need to make some changes here, and we certainly aren't trying to go to war with anyone," said Calman.

McDonald's is fighting what amounts to an eviction notice and says it has no intention of terminating the remaining 10 years on its lease with the clinic. A spokesman said the chain is proud of the fare it serves.

"We've been actively working with the Cleveland Clinic to help educate our customers how to eat smart," said Dr. Kathy Kapica, McDonald's global director of nutrition.

The clinic says yearlong discussions about removing the restaurant have been going nowhere because while McDonald's offers to add healthy alternatives, it says it will not remove burgers and fries from the menu.

Nutritionists: McDonald's Removal Overdue
Some say the clinic's move is long overdue.

"It really doesn't make sense to serve food that's associated with an increased risk of chronic disease in a setting dedicated to treating chronic disease," said Dr. David Katz, a nutrition expert at Yale University.

Still, it is not unusual for hospitals to offer fast food in their food courts, and McDonald's does not have a lock on the business. The Hardee's chain has a restaurant at the Duke Children's Hospital in North Carolina, where patients can order the 1,400-calorie "Monster Thickburger."

Critics say it raises the question: If people are not supposed to eat fast food, why is it available in hospitals?

ABC News' Dean Reynolds filed this report for "World News Tonight."

Copyright 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

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