After 6 years of hard work, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has passed a new policy requiring 100% healthy vending machines.
Physicians and staff realized that while they were promoting healthy eating to their patients, the hospital snack offerings were not.
In the video below, Dr. Guenter Hofstadler describes the problems the agency had with their previous 50% healthy policy… Low fat, whole grain snacks were often overlooked. High calorie junky snacks were always within easy reach.
The endorsement of Bill Walker, CCHS Director, was crucial in getting the new policy passed. In a letter written to all staff, Dr. Walker stressed that CCHS could not continue to send mixed messages of healthy eating, while profiting from the sale of sugar sweetened beverages and snacks in its vending machines.
“Surveys among our health professionals indicate 100% of them feel that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was a problem in families’ attempts to deal with weight issues. Really upsetting to me is the fact that our providers feel undermined by our Health Centers’ sales of sugar-sweetened beverages. In some cases, such as WIC, our staff are in one room actively counseling patients against drinking sodas and eating junk food while these products are being sold at a profit by the Health Center on the other side of the same wall.” — William Walker, M.D.
You can read more of Dr. Walker’s perspective in the CCHS Director’s Report December 2010 (2.8 MB)
All of the profits from the healthy vending machines will go towards childhood obesity prevention. Community Wellness & Prevention Program was one of our recent HAB45 mini-grant recipients. They will use their $500 grant award to host healthy food tasting parties at many of the machine locations.
Congratulations to CC Health Services on their new policy! Good work.