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Program Promotes Healthy Hospital Dining

Red Apple initiative certifies food environments in medical complexes.

The Red Apple Initiative, a program designed to encourage hospitals in North Carolina to improve the nutrition profile of their retail foodservice operations, has achieved compliance in 95 of the state's 127 hospitals and is now expanding to medical facilities in other states as well.

Red Apple's five principles for a healthy foood environment include…

  • provide access to healthy foods at all times using standard nutrition criteria;

  • promote healthy items with pricing incentives;

  • use marketing techniques, including nutrition labeling, to educate and encourage healthy items;

  • provide preventive benefits and wellness incentives to encourage long-term behavior change; and

  • implement an education campaign to promote healthy foods to staff and visitors.

The program is not resting on its laurels. Not only is it engaging participation in states outside North Carolina but it has recently raised standards and instituted another level of participation: the Gold Apple. To date, 11 hospitals in North Carolina and three in South Carolina have achieved Gold Apple status.

The Red and Gold Apple principles and the overall program have been developed by NC Prevention Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthier lifestyles and reducing the incidence of preventable medical conditions, in partnership with the North Carolina Hospital Association and with funding from the Duke Endowment.

The deadline for 2012 entries into FM's annual Best Concepts Awards program is fast approaching. If you — or a foodservice director you know — deserves to be recognized, don't procrastinate! For entry rules and information, go to The entry deadline is March 30, 2012.

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