“Those who preach must practice,” is the new rule in town. More and more hospitals are encouraging health and wellness in the communities by starting with their own staffs.
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) program is a growing group that aims to help hospitals replace junk foods in their cafeterias with healthier items. PHA’s goal is to get hospital’s to follow their own advice when it comes to nutrition and good eating. The 17 systems currently participating in the new PHA program—more than 150 hospitals altogether— have committed to:
- Label all food and beverage items (as well as patient menus) with calorie counts
- Offer meals that meet certain nutritional standards and cost the same as (or less than) other meal choices within one year
- Limit unhealthy beverages to a maximum of 20% of drinks available in the hospital
- Remove deep-fat fryers and deep-fried foods from cafeterias and menus
- Market only healthy hospital foods in cafeterias
- Meet certain nutritional standards for at least 60% of entrees and side dishes
- Increase fruits and vegetables to 10% of total food spending, or increase spending on produce by 20% annually
Local Leaders in Employee Health and Wellness
Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System was ahead of the curve earlier this year when it announced that it was kicking fried foods to the curb. Bon Secours food service departments have made a number of changes to menus to reduce unhealthy food and drink options and increase more healthy food choices, offering “baked” entrees instead of fried ones. (This news came after Bon Secours announced it’s nicotine-free hiring policy to mixed reactions from the community.)
Fried foods don’t just feed your waistline, they can also cause heart disease, exacerbate high blood pressure, clog arteries, and tend to be “trigger foods” for those who suffer from acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Here are a few fried food facts:
- Fried foods clog arteries and have been linked to strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, and Alzeimer’s.
- Fried foods can promote inflammation in joints – especially among arthritis sufferers.
- Eating fried foods regularly can make achieving normal blood sugar levels and weight loss more difficult for some people with type 2 diabetes.
With the obesity and diabetes on the rise nationally, it’s time for health care organizations to lead the way. These efforts to “make the healthy choice easy, affordable, and convenient” are a huge step towards healthier communities.