Healthcare News & Insights

17 hospital systems say hello to healthier foods

The initiative to get hospitals to serve healthier foods recently grew by leaps and bounds, when 17 hospital systems joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) program.

The PHA program is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. One of its goals is to get hospitals — pediatric and regular facilities — to serve healthier foods on their menus and in their cafeteria.

Combined, the 17 hospital systems total 150 hospitals.

One of those hospitals systems that signed a commitment with PHA to improve food offerings at its 37 hospitals is Kaiser Permanente.

“As a healthcare organization, we have an obligation to provide the healthiest food possible in order to promote the total health of our members and our workforce,” Bernard Tyson, Kaiser’s president and chief operating officer, said in a press release. “Problems like obesity and diabetes require us to redouble our efforts to make the healthy choice the easy, affordable and convenient choice. And healthcare organizations need to lead the way.”

Demonstrate commitment

Over the next four years, the 17 hospitals systems will show their commitment to the new PHA program by:

  • Labeling all food and beverage items with calorie counts in cafeterias and on patient menus
  • Limiting unhealthy beverages to a maximum of 20% of drinks available in the hospital
  • Creating “wellness meals” for cafeteria and patient menus that meet defined nutritional profiles and pricing those meals equal to or less than the cost of other meal options
  • Removing all deep-fat fryers and deep-fried products from hospital cafeterias and patient menus
  • Marketing only healthy food and beverage items in cafeterias
  • Meeting defined nutritional standards for 60% of entrees and side dishes, and
  • Increasing fruit and vegetables to 10% of total food spending, or increasing it by 20% a year.

The PHA program is the latest initiative to put pressure on hospitals to serve healthier food options. For more information, click here.

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