The Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation has designated Cloud County Health Center, Newton Medical Center, Kiowa County Memorial Hospital and Hutchinson Regional Medical Center as the state’s first healthcare facilities in Kansas to successfully put in place new policies to provide healthier food options in their hospital cafeteria and throughout the facility. Each adopted recommendations made by KHERF’s Healthy Kansas Hospitals initiative.
KHERF, which was founded by the Kansas Hospital Association in 1969 to extend the association’s ability to provide projects in the areas of healthcare workforce, rural health, emergency preparedness and health professional education, commended the hospital for their efforts to offer appealing, low-cost, healthy food and beverage options throughout the hospital.
Participating hospitals receive resources and technical assistance form KHERF and work to voluntarily adopt recommendations made by the Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation’s Healthy Kansas Hospital initiative. To date, 64 hospitals across the state have pledged to exploring healthier food and beverage options at their workplace.
“As the primary source of health care in many communities, hospitals have the opportunity to influence the health decisions of not only their employees and patients, but also the general public by the food and beverage choices they offer,” said Josh Mosier, Healthy Kansas Hospitals Project Director.
The recent changes to food and beverage policies made by the four facilities as part of their participation in the initiative include increasing the availability of fresh fruits, healthier on-site catering and vending options, increased availability of drinking water, adding nutrition labeling for meals in the cafeteria and reduced usage of the cafeteria’s deep fat fryer.
Don Bates, CEO at Cloud County Health Center, said the hospital’s goal is to create a culture of healthy living. “Supporting health-promoting behaviors by offering more nutritious food is inherently consistent with healthcare’s mission to prevent and treat chronic disease. These new dietary options will aim to have a positive impact to not only patients and visitors, but the hospital staff who utilize available onsite dietary services on a daily basis.”
“Good nutrition is one of the building blocks of a healthy community,” said Steve Kelly, CEO at Newton Medical Center. "Providing leadership in health-promoting behaviors is an appropriate role for a hospital. With an emphasis on offering expanded nutritional food choices, the hospital hopes to engage patients, visitors and hospital staff in healthy habits."