Kaiser Permanente has signed a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America to improve food offerings in its 37 hospitals.
"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," said Bernard Tyson, Kaiser Permanente's president and chief operating officer, in a prepared statement. "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."
Kaiser Permanente hospitals and facilities will demonstrate this new commitment over the next four years by:
- Labeling all food and beverage items with calorie counts in cafeterias and on patient menus.
- Limiting unhealthy beverages, including sugar-sweetened drinks, to a maximum of 20 percent of what is purchased in cafeterias and vending machines.
- Removing all deep fat fryers and deep fried products from hospital cafeterias and patient menus.
- Marketing and promoting only healthy food and beverage items in cafeterias.
- Creating "wellness meals" for cafeteria and patient menus that meet defined nutritional profiles, and pricing those meals equal to or less than the cost of other meal options.
- Meeting defined nutritional standards for 60 percent of entrees and side dishes.
- Increasing fruit and vegetables to 10 percent of total food spend, or increasing it by 20 percent a year
Kaiser Permanente, which was joined by sixteen other hospital systems in signing the commitment, has already taken significant steps to promote healthy and sustainable food for its members, staff and communities. The organization sponsors 52 farmers markets around the country. In addition, about 190 tons of the fruits and vegetables served on patient menus across the organization (nearly 50 percent of all fresh produce that Kaiser Permanente purchases each year) are sustainably and/or locally produced.