Helping to make healthy choices easier by increasing the healthy food and drink options available to our community when they visit our hospitals
Improving your health and wellbeing is sometimes about the little choices in life.
Sydney Local Health District is helping to make healthy choices easier, by increasing the healthy food and drink options available to our community when they visit our hospitals.
One in two adults and one in five children in NSW are overweight or obese. Only seven per cent of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables and 54 per cent eat the recommended amount of fruit.
Earlier this year, hospital retail outlets and vending machines replaced sugary soft drinks and energy drinks for water, 99 per cent juices, milk and diet drinks.
Throughout the year, menu adjustments have been made to ensure healthy options including fruit salads and water are readily available to all customers, muesli bars have a Health Star Rating of 3.5 stars or above and sweet muffins, confectionary and packaged salty snacks are smaller serving sizes.
The District’s Director Nutrition and Dietetics, Suzanne Kennewell, says it’s important to assist people to make healthier choices and live a healthy lifestyle.
“The messaging around 'healthy' foods and drinks can be complex and it can be difficult to know how healthy some products actually are.
“We want to ensure that healthy food and drinks are readily available for both staff and visitors. This doesn't mean that some 'treat' foods won't be available, but rather they are provided within the context of a healthy diet based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines.”
“By making healthier choices easier in the health environment, and limiting sugary food and drinks, we will lead the way for our community and help them to better understand the link between what they eat and drink and maintaining a healthy weight.”
The site manager for Zouki outlets at RPA and Canterbury, Damia Delima, has supported the changes to food and drink choices.
“It is important for the sake of the health of individuals. People are wanting the change – you just have to provide it. We’ve noticed customers will select a water from the grab and go fridge instead of waiting for the unhealthy choices in the queue,” she said.
For Ms Delima and the Zouki outlets, it is behaviour change over time that is noticeable.
“People don’t like to be told what to eat, but by simply making the fruit salads and fruit yogurt easily accessible, it’s selling well, customers asking for it. We have removed our chocolate bars, our sugary muesli bars… I’m enjoying the outcome – it seems everyone is happy.”
Changes to food and drink options are being made in line with the NSW Health Healthy Food and Drink in NSW Health Facilities for Staff and Visitors Framework and does not apply to inpatient food menus. Read more at www.health.nsw.gov.au/heal/Pages/healthy-food-framework.aspx