Hospitals in Colorado are joining the state health pact to improve diet

DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has recognized 14 hospitals participating in the Colorado Healthy Hospital Compact, an agreement of hospitals to promote breastfeeding and healthier food and drink in cafeterias, vending machines, and patient menus.

CDPHE welcomed five new hospitals to the Colorado Healthy Hospital Compact and nine hospitals continue to work to provide, serve and sell food and beverages that meet the Compact nutritional criteria. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on the capacities of all hospital staff, including the hospitality sector, but hospitality has continued despite staff shortages and delays in the supply chain.

List of fourteen hospitals

“We know how difficult the past year has been for all of us, and that 14 hospitals continue to prioritize healthy eating amid these challenges is just amazing. We are so proud of their work and their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their patients, staff and visitors, ”said Ynke de Koe, MS, RD, Nutrition Integration Specialist, CDPHE.

To support optimal health and prevent diet-related chronic diseases, hospitals are urged to increase the availability of healthy foods and beverages and to limit or eliminate unhealthy options. According to the CDPHE, the 14 recognized hospitals collectively improved their nutritional environment by increasing the availability of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and vegetable proteins and decreasing the availability of added sugar, saturated fat and sodium.

CDPHE has also developed an assessment tool to help hospitals prioritize areas where they can improve food and beverage options in the cafeteria, vending machines, and patient menus. Hospitals used the tool to enter all of the food and beverages available and calculate the percentage of options that met the Compact nutritional criteria. Using this data, the hospitals were able to identify changes they could make to meet the nutritional criteria.

Colorado Healthy Hospital Compact consists of four programs: Healthy Eating, Healthy Drinks, Marketing, and Breastfeeding Practices. Each program consists of a number of standards. When hospitals implement the standards, they collect points and eventually achieve bronze, silver, gold and platinum recognition levels. Hospitals decide which programs to implement and which standards to achieve. The health department carries out an annual review and recognizes each hospital according to the standards achieved.