Junk Food to be Banned from NYC Hospital Facilities

Sep 25, 2012 12:27 AM EDT | By Sharon Robinson

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Bloomberg's soda ban denied for a second time.
(Photo : Reuters)

Public and private hospitals are now the latest targets of New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg's junk food laws. In his battle against rising obesity rates in the state, Bloomberg is now trying to cut down the availability of junk food in hospitals.

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Several city-run hospitals have taken to banning junk food in their cafeterias, thanks to Bloomberg's Healthy Hospital Food Initiative. Private hospitals are now being expected to follow the new dietary guidelines as well.

According to the guidelines, hospitals should serve only healthy food and beverage in their facility, specifically locally produced food, free of any additives. The amount of calories and salt in the food served will also be closely monitored. Deep fried food will be removed from the menu, and healthy salads and smaller portions of food will be seeing an increase.

"If there's any place that should not allow smoking or try to make you eat healthy, you would think it'd be the hospitals," Bloomberg said Monday, according to Businessweek. "We're doing what we should do and you'll see, I think, most of the private hospitals go along with it."

According to the Bloomberg Businessweek, in recent years, as many as 15 public hospitals have reduced the sales of high calorie food, including those sold in vending machines, and sugary drinks. Ice creams and 16-ounce sodas have been done away with in several hospitals, including Montfiore Meddical Centre, the reports said. Baked food has been replaced with granola bars and meals now include wholegrains.  Patients' meals have also undergone changes to ensure lower calorie intake. The report adds that quite a few private hospitals have signed on for the Healthy Hospital Food Initiative.

However, the new guidelines do not prevent patients and visitors from bringing their own junk food from outside. Junk food often serves as comfort food for those waiting to hear about a loved one in the hospital.

"I like my Snickers and my Mars Bars - especially if I'm nervous for somebody who's inside," said Marcelle Scott, an unemployed security guard, who was waiting to hear news about her pregnant daughter, according to Businessweek.

Thanks to Bloomberg's efforts to reduce the rise in obesity and health problems related to weight, the health advisory board of New York just banned 16-ounce sodas from theatres, restaurants and other food retail chains. The new hospital food guidelines seem to have reassured many that Bloomberg is trying to run a nanny state, where he controls what the people eat. 



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