Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health, said hospitals should set the standard for promoting healthy behaviors and with this initiative in New York City, they are doing just that.
"I applaud the hospitals that are making changes to offer more healthy options throughout their facilities offering everyone, from patients to visitors, better choices," Farley said in a statement.
The initiative will impact more than 125,000 hospital employees and millions of hospital patients and visitors annually including cafeterias, beverage vending machines, food vending machines and patient meals.
Hospitals are important venues for improving the dietary health of New Yorkers -- not only are they institutions that promote health and treat disease, they also serve millions of employees, visitors and patients each year, Farley said.
The New York City Food Standards, first established in 2008 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are consistent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Institute of Medicine guidelines for a healthy diet, Farley added.
Twenty-two hospitals are in the process of implementing the food vending machine standards, which would increase the availability of healthy snack options, and 11 hospitals are already making changes in their cafeterias/cafes, including making fruits, vegetables and whole grains more available, Farley said.