Healthy hospital food initiatives in the United States: time to ban sugar sweetened beverages to reduce childhood obesity

Authors

  • Janet M Wojcicki

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of GI, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
    • Correspondence

      Janet M Wojcicki, PhD MPH, Division of GI, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, 500 Parnassus Avenue MU4E, San Francisco, CA 94134-0136, USA.

      Tel: +1-415-637-0279 |

      Fax: +1-415-476-1343 |

      Email: wojcickij@peds.ucsf.edu

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Abstract

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While childhood obesity is a global problem, the extent and severity of the problem in United States, has resulted in a number of new initiatives, including recent hospital initiatives to limit the sale of sweetened beverages and other high calorie drinks in hospital vending machines and cafeterias. These proposed policy changes are not unique to United States, but are more comprehensive in the number of proposed hospitals that they will impact. Meanwhile, however, it is advised, that these initiatives should focus on banning sugar sweetened beverages, including sodas, 100% fruit juice and sports drinks, from hospital cafeterias and vending machines instead of limiting their presence, so as to ensure the success of these programs in reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. If US hospitals comprehensively remove sugar sweetened beverages from their cafeterias and vending machines, these programs could subsequently become a model for efforts to address childhood obesity in other areas of the world.

Conclusion

Hospitals should be a model for health care reform in their communities and removing sugar sweetened beverages is a necessary first step.

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