Boston Hospital Joins City-wide Effort in Place to Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice
BOSTON, April 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), along with the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), applauds Carney Hospital (Dorchester, MA), for their ban on sugar sweetened beverages effective April 4, 2011. The announcement came alongside Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's executive order to end sales and provision of sugary beverages from civic buildings as a measure to combat obesity. BPHC and HCWH are coordinating the Hospital Learning Network, comprised of leading health care organizations across the city whose goal is to decrease the rates of obesity and chronic disease in the city of Boston by reducing access to sugar sweetened beverages (SSB).
"Carney Hospital, as the first hospital in Boston to eliminate SSBs, has taken a bold and important step toward primary prevention. We urge all Boston's healthcare organizations to follow Carney's lead and become the first City in the country to eliminate these unhealthy beverages from the healthcare sector," stated HCWH President Gary Cohen.
Health care institutions nationwide are recognizing the urgency to reduce rates of obesity, chronic illness and the associated health care costs. Boston has seen obesity trends that mirror the nationwide trends. Most recent data reveals that 54 percent of adult Boston residents are obese (23 percent) or overweight (31 percent). The annual medical cost of obesity has doubled in less than a decade, and now represents nearly 10 percent of all annual medical spending. Numerous studies indicate that higher consumption of SSBs leads to an increase in an individual's risk of not only gaining weight, but also of developing a series of chronic illnesses; type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to heart disease. Sugar-sweetened beverages now account for about 10 percent of total calories consumed in the U.S. diet. This increased consumption of SSBs in the U.S. is fueled by advertising and the fact that SSBs are comparatively inexpensive in relation to healthier food and beverage options.
Carney Hospital's effort is a model for the healthcare sector. The moral authority of the health care community and its significant purchasing power can provide the vital influence necessary to reconfigure the food system towards one with a preventive health focus. Moreover, hospitals and health care systems can play an important leadership role by setting a standard for other institutions to follow and by supporting necessary public policy interventions as they relate to food and food production.
Health Care without Harm, in collaboration with Boston Public Health Commission, is working with Boston health care organizations to reduce obesity rates by reducing access to SSB and increasing access to environmentally friendly tap water as a part of a comprehensive Healthy Food in Health Care Program. Across the nation, more than 230 healthcare facilities are promoting health by sourcing nutritious, local and sustainable food--including Cleveland Clinic Health System; Kaiser Permanente, whose 40 member hospitals have emerged as leaders in the sustainable food movement; and Catholic Healthcare West, which with 42 hospitals, is the largest U.S. Catholic healthcare system. Many of these facilities will be featured at FoodMed2011 (www.foodmed.org) the Fourth International conference on nutritious, local, sustainable healthcare food.
HCWH is an international coalition of more than 450 organizations in 52 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. http://www.noharm.org/us_canada/issues/food/pledge.php. To learn more about HCWH's work on food and other issues related to health care www.healthyfoodinhealthcare.org.
SOURCE Health Care Without Harm