Hospitals, Clinics to Remove Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Madison, Wisconsin - In the coming months, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, UW Medical Foundation and American Family Children's Hospital will adopt a new beverage policy that reinforces its ongoing commitment to patients, families, faculty and staff's health and well-being.


UW Health is proud to support the health of our communities by increasing the selection of healthier options in its food service venues, vending machines, catering and kiosks. A variety of sparkling waters, flavor-infused spa water, vitamin waters, fat-free and low-fat milk, unsweetened teas, coffee and diet sodas will be available.


Regular soda, sweetened fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened teas and sweetened coffees, contain added sugars and empty calories, but have few, if any, essential nutrients. These beverages will no longer be sold at UWHC, UWMF and AFCH facilities.


"Over-consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to serious health issues, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammation in the liver, heart disease, and poor dental health," said Dr. David Allen, Professor of Pediatrics, and Head of Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology.


"Choosing nutrient-rich foods and beverages play an important role in preserving our health, maintaining strength and reducing the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Our providers and registered dietitians stress the importance of nutritious food as part of our patients' care plan. UW Health is proud to offer consistent messaging by providing healthful foods and beverages to our patients, families and faculty and staff," said Amy Mihm, registered dietitian.


Effort to Create A Healthy Community

Infused water


We are dedicated to supporting a culture where a healthy choice is an easy choice. The Healthy Hospital and Clinics Committee is progressively providing nutrient-rich menu options, adding health-conscious My Smart Choice menu options to the Four Lakes Café and Farmers' Market Café, removing fried foods from adult and pediatric menus, as well as taking a more sustainable approach to purchasing and supporting local farmers and businesses.


The Healthy Hospital and Clinics Committee consists of members from UWHC, UWMF and AFCH administration, Culinary and Clinical Nutrition Services, Nursing and Patient Care Services, Nutrition and Health Education, Patient- and Family-Centered Care representatives and Wellness Options at Work.


"Hospital eating does not have to be boring. We offer many flavorful and healthy options such as pan-seared walleye, braised beef in red wine thyme sauce, whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken and fruit. It's not just Jell-O, celery and carrots," said executive chef John Williams, a member of the Healthy Hospital and Clinics Committee.


"We offer many seasonal, farm-fresh, locally sourced food options. Our beverage policy is the next step. We removed sugary beverages and fried foods from the adult and pediatric room service menus last year, and patients now have more nourishing options during their stay. We are continually moving the needle to healthier options," says Chef John. Our mission to provide a minimum of 60 percent healthy food and beverage items in all food venues will continue and be supported by the removal of the deep fat fryers in December 2014. "The deep fat fryers will be removed and a TurboChef oven will be added. By baking foods instead of deep fat frying, the calories and fat are significantly reduced and the foods have just as much, if not more, flavor."


Patients, visitors, and staff may bring in their own sugar-sweetened beverages. We hope our faculty and staff will lead by example and also make a commitment to their health.


"We recognize that specific patient populations may require food or beverages that differ from the nutritional guidelines that are recommended for the general public. We are committed to meeting every patient's nutrient requirements and will make accommodations for those patients," said Dr. Allen.


"This is an integrated effort as UW Health moves towards no longer selling or providing sugared beverages to patients, staff and visitors at all of our locations. This is the latest example of our efforts to create a healthy community environment," said Dr. Jeffrey Grossman, CEO of University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation.


Policy Is First In the Madison Area


UW Health is the first Madison-area hospital, and only the second in the state, to adopt a beverage policy to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages. We join other leading medical centers across the country, such as the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Michigan Hospital and Health Centers, take bold steps in fighting the health problems associated with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.


"Because of our dedication to patients and families, UWHC has been ranked the top hospital in Wisconsin for three years in a row. We recognize this is a courageous change, but we are proud to live by our core principles of advancing health without compromise and being a national leader in health care," says Ron Sliwinski, UWHC president and CEO.


"We have realistic expectations and don't expect to reverse the epidemic of type 2 diabetes overnight, but we want to take a step forward and be leaders in combating the medical problems associated with obesity," said Dr. Allen.

Date Published: 10/30/2014

News tag(s):  kidsnutrition

News RSS Feed