Medical Center Hosts Other Hospitals for Healthy Food Summit

August 17, 2009

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center will host a Healthy Food in Hospitals Open House Tuesday, Aug. 18, with attendees from other medical centers named by the North Carolina Prevention Partners (NCPP) as Centers of Excellence for promoting healthy foods in the state.

There will be presentations from NCPP on planning, implementing or maintaining a healthy food environment, and discussion among participants about implementation of the Red Apple Healthy Food Environment, a designation given by NCPP, which has geared up to help North Carolina hospitals offer healthier food options for patients, staff and visitors. Last year, NCPP was awarded a three-year, $1.1 million grant by the Duke Endowment and the N.C. Hospital Association to revolutionize nutrition standards in hospital cafeterias, in vending machines and at all hospital-related events.

NCPP has developed “Healthy Food Environment” guidelines that track hospitals’ progress as they make healthier choices more available and affordable. Besides Wake Forest Baptist, the Centers of Excellence include FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst, Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte and Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. These medical centers will serve as role models for healthy eating environments within their communities by conducting outreach to other local businesses and organizations. They will also share resources, expertise and technical assistance with other North Carolina hospitals.

“We are very proud of what we have done at Wake Forest Baptist to promote healthy foods, and we hope to help other hospitals in the state to improve their promotions of healthy foods,” said Lynn Black, M.Ed., manager of Wellness ActionHealth at Wake Forest Baptist.

At Wake Forest Baptist’s Ardmore Cafeteria, Food and Nutrition Services works with ActionHealth to promote healthy food options with special pricing and marketing to make them more attractive to customers. ActionHealth’s wellness icon, Chiever, is used to denote healthy choices in the cafeteria and educate consumers at the point of service through signage and nutrition information. In addition, there is a designated healthy vending area where all items for sale meet the NCPP criteria for healthy foods.    

“This initiative is timely, as it is now common knowledge that good dietary habits can improve one's wellbeing and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases,” said Black. “As a major teaching hospital and one that takes a proactive approach to wellness, we see this initiative as a basis for healthful lifestyles, not only for our employees but for the community at large. We are honored to be in the forefront of this movement.”

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