Sugary drinks with no nutritional value will not be sold in vending machines or retail outlets in Manning Hospital.
It is one of numerous hospitals and health facilities in the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) that is working to provide staff and visitors with healthier options - and cutting access to the drinks is a first step.
Water and other popular drink choices will replace the sugary drinks as HNELHD works to comply with new NSW Health guidelines to “make healthy food and drink normal in our health facilities.”
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The decision to target sugary drinks comes as “the strongest evidence for a link between sugar intake, and overweight and obesity is for the consumption of sugary drinks,” explains Dr Kerry Chant PSM, the NSW government’s chief health officer and deputy secretary for population and public health.
It will also impact on the type and availability of certain foods, with the goal to be that meals, snacks and drinks made from the five food groups are to make up 75 per cent or more of the food offered for sale, so there will be more sandwiches, soups, pasta dishes, yoghurt and fruit and less pies, chips, sweet muffins and confectionery.
Manning Hospital is home to the Pink Ladies Kiosk and its range of food presented for sale to staff and visitors features an infamous range of lollies that is sold in the kiosk and also taken throughout the hospital on a trolley. The range includes 20 lollies and the profits from sales are directed to raising funds to purchase equipment for the hospital.
The Manning River Times asked HNELHD if the new policy framework will “impact on items sold by the Pink Ladies?”
“The framework does not apply to fundraising activities,” said HNELHD executive director of finance, Mark Jeffrey. “However, we encourage fundraisers to support these changes, where possible, by selling more healthy food and drink choices and limiting the sale of those with no nutritional value.”
“I am aware that the United Hospital Auxiliary supports the framework and senior management are actively communicating this to its members across NSW.”
The framework does not apply to fundraising activities.HNELHD executive director of finance, Mark Jeffrey.
The change won’t happen overnight but is to occur throughout 2018 and will apply to outlets where foods and drinks are available such as cafes and cafeterias, kiosks, coffee carts, vending machines, convenience stores and newsagents, florists, pharmacies and catering provided at functions.
Dr Chant says the NSW government is working to identify ways to make it easy to be healthy in NSW as one in two adults in NSW and more than one in five children overweight or obese.”
“Unhealthy eating is a preventable risk factor for overweight and obesity and associated chronic diseases. Yet when surrounded by unhealthy foods and drinks at work, at the shops, and in public places like hospitals, making the healthy choice can often be difficult.”