Hospitals Shifting Away from Sugar Drinks, Report Finds
April 4, 2014
Are sugary drinks in America's hospitals finally getting their discharge papers? That's the case for at least 11 hospitals highlighted in a new paper from the nonprofit groups Center for Science in the Public Interest and Health Care Without Harm. Those hospitals have eliminated or sharply reduced the availability of sugar drinks from patient menus, cafeterias, vending machines, and elsewhere on hospital campuses, while increasing access to and availability of water and other healthier beverages.
"Physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators see firsthand how Americans struggle with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other debilitating soda-related conditions," said CSPI director of health promotion policy Jim O'Hara. "And they increasingly realize that the availability of soda and other sugar drinks is inconsistent with hospitals' work to treat and prevent disease."
According to the groups, hospitals that work to improve foods and beverages can realize strengthened community partnerships, positive press coverage, and often, increased revenue.
"These facilities represent a sample of the many health care organizations nationwide who are redefining the role of hospitals in promoting prevention-based care by modeling healthy choices and creating a healthier environment in their facilities," said Stacia Clinton, RD, who heads the Health Care Without Harm Healthy Beverage Project and the Healthier Hospitals Initiative Beverage Challenge. "In addition to reducing sweetened beverages, these facilities are increasing education and access to public drinking water, reducing bottled beverage waste, and making the healthy choice the easy choice for those they serve."
Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of hospitals and health care systems, medical professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labor unions, environmental and environmental health organizations and religious groups.