WEST CHESTER, PA — In an effort to encourage healthier lifestyles that reduce the risk of chronic health conditions, Chester County Hospital has joined the “Good Food, Healthy Hospitals” initiative being implemented throughout Penn Medicine. Chester County Hospital will improve the nutritional quality of the food and beverages served at its hospital campus and satellite locations over two phases.
Phase one began in November 2018 with improved vending machine beverage options and the reduction of sugar-sweetened beverages available in all cafés. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sugar-sweetened beverages are the single leading source of added sugars in the American diet and are key drivers of significant public health concerns, with consumption of these drinks tied to increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The initiative will expand on January 2, 2019, with the elimination of all sugar-sweetened beverages sold. Diet or unsweetened beverages, 100% fruit juice, milk, and many flavored-water options will remain available. While visitors and employees may bring in their own sugar-sweetened beverages, drinks with added sugars sold in the hospital’s cafés, vending machines and served on patient menus will be eliminated.
Phase two will focus on increasing nutritionally dense foods, including adding more variety to the fresh fruits and vegetables available in the café; revising the café menu and evaluating snack vending machine options. These steps will continue throughout 2019.
“Our clinical care for patients with type 2 diabetes includes education on healthy dietary choices, including refraining from added sugars. The improvements to our dining options will give patients greater choice in making healthier decisions while also reflecting the education we provide,” said Michael Duncan, President and CEO at Chester County Hospital.
Hospitals throughout the health system have also begun incorporating similar dietary changes. “As a health system, we aspire to create a model environment for the health and wellness of our patients, their families, and our employees, an effort which extends to the food and drinks we serve in our cafeterias, snack bars, coffee stands, and vending machines,” said Ralph Muller, Chief Executive Officer of Penn Medicine.
Source: Chester County Hospital/Penn Medicine
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