Ron on the Run: Sugar in hospitals

Ron on the Run: Sugar in hospitals

(KUTV) March is National Nutrition Month, so Intermountain HealthCare decided this was the perfect time to get rid of sugar.

They just rolled out their Healthy Choice Initiative which includes ending the sale of sugary foods and drinks at all their facilities.

“Part of Intermountain’s initiative here is to making the healthy choice the easy choice,” says Food and Nutrition Director Robin Aufdenkampe.

Starting March 1, Intermountain stopped selling the sugar-added drinks, candy and less-healthy snacks in all their cafeterias and vending machines.

“Some people were a little more upset than others, especially when you have a busy lunchtime, “explains orthopedic medical assistant Martika Heath. “But at the same time we see the benefit of it, and the benefit overall for the patients.”

Intermountain has been working on the initiative for the last year.

“We’ve had overwhelming support from employees, patients, and families which has been wonderful,” Aufdenkampe says.

The sugar snacks will be replaced with healthier versions.

“There will still be soda machines. They’re just going to serve diet and fruit flavored waters, seltzer waters and healthier beverages.”

Employees and guests are still allowed to bring their own food and drinks. Patients will also have options. For example, they can have a Sprite to settle an upset stomach or a milkshake to boost their calories.

Aufdenkampe expects to see positive results.

“As we transition through this, we will see improved health, improved outcomes, with the health of our employees and caregivers—we’ll be able to track that and see.”

Thirty other health systems across the country have similar programs.

“We don’t want your doctor telling you one thing about eating, then you can access these foods in our cafeteria,”adds Martika Heath. “We want to represent what we preach.”

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