Beef hamburger, priced at 13,450 yen ($112), is served at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo May 1, 2007.
Beef hamburger, priced at 13,450 yen ($112), is served at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo May 1, 2007. Reuters/Kiyoshi Ota

Health experts have said that the Royal Children's Hospital should end its contract with McDonald's as it was creating a "healthy halo effect" which was sending out the wrong message to families. It also said that the new Monash Children's Hospital should exclude fast food outlets.

Several American and British hospitals were dumping the contracts that it have with fast food chains, reported The Age. It has cited the reasons that businesses were inconsistent with the healthcare environment and that the hospitals in Victoria should also take the same step.

A public health professor from Melbourne University, Rob Moodie, said that the leading paediatric hospitals in Australia should not support the fast food chains such as McDonald's which is targeted at children. He gave this advice as research shows that one out of four children are either overweight or obese.

Moodie said that if paediatric hospitals support multinational fast food chains, it was like Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre supporting the tobacco industry. He explained that it was hard to encourage people to eat healthy food. He said that they did not need the branding of a few of the most prestigious hospitals in Australia offering support to something that was promoting an unhealthy diet. He exclaimed that there was a real clash of purpose if that happened.

When the Royal Children's Hospital opened in 2011, it included a McDonald's, though a few of the doctors protested against it. Because of this move by the hospital, it is feared that the new Monash Children's Hospital that will open in 2017 might also include a fast food chain.

A spokesman for Monash Health was questioned if the new Monash Children's Hospitals would have McDonald's or any other fast food outlet, and he answered that there was no decision taken about it yet. He provided information that the hospital would have a retail space and a tender process would be undertaken to determine what can occupy the space.

Both the hospitals, Royal Children's as well as Monash Children's, are benefitted because of the Ronald McDonald House charity, which is a non-profit group that works towards providing support to those children who are seriously ill. Every year, the group organises a "McHappy Day" through which $2 from every purchase of Big Mac goes towards charity.