Health Care Without Harm Releases Report on Healthy Food in Health Care


Health Care Without Harm’s”Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC)” program has issued its third Menu of Change report, tracking the progress of the health care sector toward healthy and sustainable food service operations and highlighting the work being done to advance these efforts nationally and in regional pilots.

The report includes the results of a recent HFHC nationwide survey of hospitals that are engaged with HCWH in developing healthy food programs. Following are some of the key findings from the survey as reported in the Menu of Change Report:

· Healthy Food and Beverage Environments: Survey findings reveal that facilities are going beyond healthy choices to providing healthy food environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice with increased offerings of fruits, fresh vegetable and nutritionally dense and minimally-processed, unrefined foods. The trend toward healthy beverages continues to gain speed with over 80 percent of respondents reporting Healthy Beverage Programs and efforts and 70 percent taking measures to increase tap water consumption in lieu of bottled water.

· Less meat, better meat: Nearly 50 percent of respondents report taking HCWH’s Balanced Menus Challenge or creating purchasing policies with specific targets for meat reduction and sustainable meat procurement.

· Sustainable and local food purchasing… By directing their purchasing dollars to locally and sustainably produced food, hospitals can influence broader community healthy – supporting regional economies and protecting the health of farm workers, their communities and the environment on which we all depend. Eighty-two percent of respondents report purchasing and serving sustainably produced foods and beverages, accounting for on average 21 percent of their total food budgets. Ninety-one percent report purchasing and serving food and beverages produced within 250 miles of their facilities, accounting for on average 23 percent of their total food budgets.

· Reducing waste and conserving energy and water resources: Efforts to reduce and mange food waste generation included reducing portions size (31 percent of respondents), providing cook to order or room service (62 percent of respondents) and food waste composting (38 percent of respondents). New this year, the survey gathered information on water and energy resource conservation and found that 68% of facilities reported using energy efficient lighting and 54% reported using energy and water efficient equipment with EPA Energy Star and Water Sense ratings.

Posted by Paula Votendahl