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Healthy Drink Options In Hospital Cafes And Vending Machines ‘walking The Talk’ Say Health Experts

Healthy drink options as standard in Bay of Plenty hospital cafes and vending machines is ‘walking the talk’ say health experts.

From today, Monday 3 May, artificially sweetened and sugary drinks will no longer be available in cafes and vending machines at Tauranga and Whakatāne Hospitals. Diet soft drinks, juices, flavoured water and smoothies will be removed. Instead, staff and visitors will be able to choose between plain and sparkling water and unsweetened milk, as well as teas and coffees.

Toi Te Ora Public Health Medical Officer of Health Phil Shoemack said the changes were a very positive step forward.

“As healthcare workers we have a responsibility to walk the talk, to show leadership to our communities,” he said. “Adopting our ‘water and milk only’ policy is a practical way of demonstrating the importance of eating and drinking healthy products every day.”

Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Head of the Dental Department Rudi Johnson said the changes show the DHB’s commitment to decreasing added sugars in the community and reducing tooth decay.

“Ka rawe! We are leading by example in our community and hopefully other workplaces, schools and organisations will follow,” said Rudi.

The decision is in keeping with Ministry of Health requirements for all District Health Boards to have a healthy food and drink policy, said BOPDHB Chief Executive Officer Pete Chandler. The National Healthy Food and Drink Policy applies to all food and drink available to purchase on site – vending machines, cafes, pharmacies, and snack boxes.

“This is in place to demonstrate commitment to the health and wellbeing of our kaimahi, our staff, visitors, whānau and planet,” said Pete.

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