A MOVE to encourage healthier eating habits was front and centre at the Camperdown hospital this week, with sugary drinks removed from the menu.
Hospital manager Janine Dureau-Finn said South West Healthcare had an important role in promoting health for its patients, staff and visitors.
“As the leading health care provider and the largest employer in the region, we’re committed to being not only a leader in health care, but a leader in providing a safe and healthy work environment,” she said.
After already installing ‘healthy food’ vending machines, the hospital this week removed sugar-sweetened beverages from the campus.
Ms Dureau-Finn said some fruit juice options remained, but had been restricted to smaller sizes to limit the level of sugar intake.
Hospital chef James King said the healthy vending machines were replenished several times each day to ensure their freshness.
“They include everything from pieces of fruit to sandwich, salad and pasta options,” he said.
Health promotion officer Nikita Wheaton said recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicated more than one in two Australians exceeded the World Health Organisation’s recommended sugar intake levels.
“Sweetened beverages contribute just over half of the sugars – particularly soft drinks, sports and energy drinks,” she said.
Dietitian Casey Weel said increasing evidence linked higher levels of consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks with a range of health problems, including weight gain, obesity, diabetes and dental erosion and decay.
“They also replace healthier food choices and are associated with a lower intake of vitamins, minerals and fibre in adults,” she said.