Kaiser Permanente has signed a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America to improve food offerings in its 37 hospitals. Already a pioneer in the healthcare segment in promoting healthy eating, Kaiser is now committing to offering more fruits and vegetables in its retail and patient dining operations, providing healthier beverages and meal options with fewer calories, less saturated fat and a balance of nutritious ingredients, and promoting a wide variety of healthy food and beverages to its workforce.
"As a health care organization, we have an obligation to provide the healthiest food possible in order to promote the total health of our members and our workforce," says President/COO Bernard Tyson. "Problems like obesity and diabetes require us to redouble our efforts to make the healthy choice the easy, affordable and convenient choice. And health care organizations need to lead the way."
The PHA pledge commits Kaiser over the next four years to...
• Label all food and beverage items with calorie counts in its cafeterias and on patient menus;
• Limit unhealthy beverages, including sugar-sweetened drinks, to a maximum of 20 percent of what is purchased in cafeterias and vending machines;
• Remove all deep fat fryers and deep fried products from hospital cafeterias and patient menus;
• Market and promote only healthy food and beverage items in cafeterias;
• Create "wellness meals" for cafeteria and patient menus that meet defined nutritional profiles, and price those meals equal to or less than the cost of other meal options;
• Meet defined nutritional standards for 60 percent of entrees and side dishes; and
• Increase fruit and vegetables to 10 percent of total food spending, or increase it by 20 percent a year.