October 22nd, 2015
UNC Draws Flak for Naming Children's Clinic after Donut Maker
By Parker Brown
Nutritionists aghast at putting Krispy Kreme name on kids' healthcare facility
The University of North Carolina (UNC) is renaming its Raleigh-based children’s clinic the Krispy Kreme Challenge Children’s Specialty Clinic, the school has announced. The Krispy Kreme Challenge is an annual charity event consisting of a 5-mile race, during which participants run 2.5 miles, eat a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, and run back.
But the name change, which essentially provides free advertising for the donut chain, still did not sit well with one healthcare professional, Robert Lustig, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, who has written extensively on the dangers of processed foods and sugar. “Industry sponsorship of medicine is a common occurrence,” he said in an email. “But it must occur without conflict of interest. Naming rights [are] an automatic conflict of interest. Peddling sugar to children, particularly when we have an epidemic of pediatric obesity and metabolic syndrome, is a flagrant conflict of interest. And N.C. Children’s Hospital accepting money for anything that can be detrimental to children is an egregious conflict of interest.”
Lustig added that the institution is far from the only one with a tie to an unhealthy food product. He pointed out that the American Academy of Pediatrics took money from Coca-Cola until this year.