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State Pushes Hospitals To Serve Healthy Food

Flickr user Ableman

A new program is starting this week to fight one of Colorado’s biggest health threats: obesity.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, one in five adults in the state are obese, and one out of every seven children are.  Susan Motika is with the CDPHE, and she's been working on the new project for the past year and a half.

"The Healthy Hospital Compact in Colorado is an effort by hospitals, public health, and community partners such as Live Well Colorado and Kaiser Permanente," says Motika, "to really look at the hospital environment and say 'What can be done to on a voluntary basis to improve food and beverage environments?'"

The CDPHE is basically trying to get hospitals to change the food and drink they offer. 

"Hospitals might introduce a healthier meal option, they could eliminate deep fat fryers, they could eliminate trans fat, they could reduce sugar sweetened beverage offerings," says Motika. 

It’s reminiscent of smoking, when the hospitals instituted smoke free zones. 

Susan says that they were deliberate in not making this a regulation.  There is no new law.  The recommendations were created by a wide range of partners, and as a partnering hospital does better, they’ll get a better rank with the department.  Right now, the hospitals in the compact are only around the Denver area.

"Ideally, we would like hospitals throughout Colorado to be strongly implementing the hospital compact," she said.

Susan says that many hospitals are already on the right track.

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