County hospitals sign on for statewide food and beverage review

Hillsboro Community Hospital and St. Luke Hos?pital and Living Center in Marion are among 75 Kansas hospitals that have pledged to examine their current food and beverage practices.

The challenge to do so was issued by the Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation.

Participating hospitals will consider new policies that provide healthier food options in the hospital cafeteria and throughout the facility, according to the Kansas Hospital Associa?tion.

?This enhanced access to healthy food aims to positively impact hospital employees, patients and visitors, while also helping to establish norms for healthier living for the communities served,? according to Cindy Samuelson, KHA vice president for member services and public relations.

Participating hospitals are working to adopt recommendations made by Heal?thy Kansas Hospitals, a three-year initiative that provides resources and technical assistance to participating facilities.

Included in the assistance given to hospitals are on-site visits, webinars, toolkits and a Healthy Kansas Hospitals conference this fall.

The 75 participating hospitals represent 34,234 employees and 184,625 patient discharges each year, many of which use the on-site amenities.

?With this initiative, health-care settings have the potential to take the lead in creating a roadmap for other worksites to navigate the challenges associated with implementing healthier environments,? according to Samuelson.

Hospitals make their own decisions related to changes to the food and beverage environment based on an individualized assessment, she added.

?Examples of changes to food and beverage policies being made at some facilities include increasing the availability of healthy entrees, adding nutrition labeling for meals in the cafeteria, eliminating fried foods, adding healthier snack items to vending machines and increased employee education on the topic of nutrition and diet.

KHA established the Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation in 1969 to facilitate collaboration and innovation to improve health delivery for Kansas communities.