Health system continues commitment to healthy food and beverage options
“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet, and play a significant role in the country’s obesity epidemic,” said Dr. Andrea Feinberg, medical director of Geisinger’s Health and Wellness Program. “These drinks also can increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and gout. By eliminating SSBs, we can create wellness opportunities and improve the overall health of our communities.”
Beginning in the New Year, Geisinger food service locations will no longer sell SSBs. These items include regular soda, sugar-added fruit juices, sugar-sweetened teas, sugar-added energy drinks, bottled sugar-added iced coffee drinks and flavored milks (chocolate and strawberry).
Visitors to Geisinger locations will still have options as the following items will be available: diet and zero calorie soda, 100 percent fruit juice, diet and unsweetened teas, zero calorie Powerade and Vitaminwater, regular and decaffeinated coffee, all types of unflavored milk, and water, including zero calorie flavored waters.
“As a healthcare organization, our goal is to provide the best care to our patients, employees, members and visitors,” said Bruce Thomas, vice president of Geisinger’s Guest Services. “Geisinger serves more than 6 million meals a year. By offering healthy food and beverage options, we have a tremendous opportunity to positively impact the health and wellbeing of our entire community.”
The World Health Organization recommends individuals consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day; on average, Americans consume about 20 teaspoons per day. One 12-ounce can of regular soda contains nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar.
The elimination of sugar-sweetened beverages within the health system is part of an ongoing commitment by Geisinger to provide resources and tools for healthier living that started a decade ago. In 2008, Geisinger began its Healthy Selections program and has continued to make changes to its menu by eliminating trans fats and fried food, limiting sodium and serving fresh, local produce.
“Geisinger is all about caring for patients, employees and visitors,” Feinberg said. “Good food is medicine and offering healthy food and beverage choices is another way to provide that care.”
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models such as ProvenHealth Navigator®, ProvenCare® and ProvenExperience®. As one of the nation’s largest health service organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey at AtlantiCare, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. In 2017, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital became the newest members of the Geisinger Family. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 13 hospital campuses, two research centers, and a 583,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $12.7 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Geisinger has repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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