In one of the biggest ironies of modern culture, many hospitals have onsite fast food establishments. There are several advantages to a McDonald’s and clones on premises. The food is available 24/7, it is served quickly, and it is cheap. Most importantly for the sick and their family members, comfort food is greatly appreciated at a time when a loved one is hospitalized.
The downside is, of course, the fact that these establishments serve the very food that, after years of consumption, leads many to illness and hospitalization. Think heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, and worse.
In the last few years, several hospital systems have ejected fast food establishments, and others have not renewed operating licenses. This is the right thing to do. But an even more awesome thing is to become proactive in the food movement.
That’s exactly what the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (CHoSA) is doing with a new Culinary Health and Education Program which aims to provide children with healthy food and to focus on health and wellness. To goal is to help prevent childhood diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.
Some of the cool things planned:
- Hands-on nutrition and cooking courses in collaboration with The Culinary Institute of San Antonio and HEB supermarkets
- 2.4 acres of teaching and healing gardens to “play, pray, and learn through interactive experiences and about the foundations of a healthy diet.”
- Doctor prescriptions for fruits and vegetables
- Long term patients will be able to spend time in the gardens
Let’s hope that this initiative will succeed and provide inspiration for additional hospitals to spend some resources on prevention, not just cure.