Removing sugary drinks from hospitals, health services a positive step

Thursday 8 June, 2017

OPC congratulates NSW Govt for healthy food and drink policy

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has applauded the NSW Government for committing to remove all sugary drinks and boost healthy food choices in its hospitals and health services, in a change to take effect from December.

OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin said sugary drinks and unhealthy food had no place in hospitals or health services - and called on other state and territory governments across Australia to follow NSW's lead.

"Sugary drinks and other high-energy, nutrient-poor products are a major contributor to Australia's obesity epidemic, but for decades they have been readily available in our hospitals and health facilities. These services are designed to keep our communities healthy - so it just doesn't make sense for them to sell junk in their canteens," Ms Martin said.

"It's fantastic to see  NSW Health taking the proactive step of removing all sugary drinks and introducing more healthy food options in its vending machines, cafes and catering.

Ms Martin said hospitals and health services were treating increasing numbers of patients with weight and diet-related chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

"Hospitals and health services should be mirroring the healthy diets they encourage people to follow in the food and drink they provide," Ms Martin said.

"Reducing the availability of unhealthy food sends a clear message that these food and drinks are unhealthy. It helps to make the healthy choice, the easy choice for everyone.

"We've seen impressive leadership in this area from services such as Melbourne's The Alfred hospital, which has reduced sugary drinks sales by 36,500 a year by increasing their price and putting them out of sight. 

"We congratulate the NSW Government and its commitment to the Premier's Priority to Reduce Overweight and Obesity of Children by 5 per cent over 10 years.  We look forward to seeing further progress to achieve this target."