Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen joined leaders from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) to recognize the expansion of healthy food services offered by hospitals participating in the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program.
This year, Einstein Medical Center in Elkins Park, Montgomery County, joined the program, increasing overall participation to 51 hospitals in 26 counties. Next year, Independence Health System’s three Westmoreland locations plan to join the program.
Good Food, Healthy Hospitals participants create a culture of wellness by offering nutritious foods and beverages to patients, employees, and visitors, while promoting locally-sourced and sustainably-produced products.
“To truly move the needle on health in Pennsylvania, we must focus on prevention,” said Dr. Bogen. “Eating healthy foods is a key component of prevention. Eating a healthy diet is associated with lower risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions. I applaud the collective achievements of the hospitals and health systems that participate in the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, and I hope many more will join this important effort.”
Healthcare facilities participating in Good Food, Healthy Hospitals pledge to voluntarily adopt food, beverage, and procurement standards in all areas where food is purchased, served, or sold. These standards include, among others:
- indicating vegetarian, heart healthy, and whole grain options on patient menus,
- placing healthier beverages and snacks at eye level for consumers,
- prominently displaying nutrition information of foods and beverages,
- replacing regular fried chips with baked varieties,
- promoting water as a healthy and necessary beverage choice throughout the hospital,
- purchasing locally-sourced and sustainably-raised foods where possible, and
- purchasing rBGH-free dairy products.
The hospitals work closely with the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals team, including the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and HAP, for technical assistance and collaboration with participating hospitals.
“Hospitals throughout Pennsylvania are important partners in keeping people healthy,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “This year, we celebrate more than 50 hospitals that have committed to making it easier for patients, staff, and visitors to eat a nutritious diet. Having easy access to nutritious good food helps people get and stay well.”
“Providing access to nutritious food and educating patients, staff, and visitors about healthy eating are among the ways that hospitals work proactively to improve the health of their communities,” HAP President and CEO Nicole Stallings said. “HAP is proud to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Philadelphia Department of Public Health to expand the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program statewide so that more communities can benefit from fresh, healthy food.”