Doctors use billboard to attack McDonald’s outside hospital

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A group of doctors is asking an Atlanta hospital to replace a McDonald's with a healthier option.

ATLANTA, GA — A group of doctors is asking an Atlanta hospital to replace a McDonald’s with a healthier option.

The fast food giant rents space inside the parking garage at Grady Memorial Hospital and has been on the property for at least 20 years, but their lease is ending soon, according to WGCL.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is using billboards near the hospital hoping to convince administrators not to renew the lease for McDonald’s. The doctors argue that a place like Grady Memorial Hospital, known for its cardiac unit, shouldn’t be involved with food that a heart patient isn’t allowed to eat.

“It seems very paradoxical that on the campus we would have a food service that promotes chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity,” said Dr. Neil Cooper.

CBS46 asked people on the street what they thought about the ad campaign.

“It’s kind of contradictory. It’s a healthcare place and then McDonald’s is right beside it,” remarked Randy Montgomery.

“I never really thought about that, but it’s a good idea to have something healthier,” said Jennifer Obielo.

It turned out that not everyone we came across was siding with the doctors.

“I don’t think they should close down McDonald’s,” said Carol Floyd, pointing out that there are some things on the menu one might consider healthy, like “…salads and grilled chicken.”

Warren Byrd asked, “What kind of restaurant do they want, an expensive restaurant? Because we can only afford McDonald’s.”

“I think it’s for the people, not the doctors. If they like health food, let them go find a place where there’s some health food,” said Eddie Jones.

CBS46 asked hospital officials what they thought about billboards, and at first, they didn’t know what we were talking about. It’s no surprise, because the wording does not specifically mention the hospital or McDonald’s.

The billboard refers to “your local hospital” and “fatty fast food.”

Even though one of the billboards is about 1000 feet from Grady, some people who read the billboard did not immediately understand who it was targeting.

Dr. Cooper said it’s not because the group is afraid of calling out the institutions by name. They are just using a generic billboard to make the same argument in more than one city.

“We know that there’s probably 17-20 other hospitals around the country that have similar situations as Grady Hospital,” said Dr. Cooper.

Grady officials said they’re not opposed to something new. In a written statement to CBS46, a hospital spokesperson said:

“The health system will be exploring a number of options for the current McDonald’s location in the coming weeks and months. No decision has been made at this time.”

McDonald’s is not a part of the food served inside the hospital, but Dr. Cooper said the restaurant’s close proximity to the main entrance makes it too convenient for patients to leave their room and eat there, or have visitors bring the food up to them.