Healthier snacks lead to healthier hospital staff
Hospital staff and patients consume less sugar and calories when healthy options are provided in vending machines.
A study conducted in one of the largest hospitals in Britain’s NHS found that reducing the number of sugar-filled snacks and introducing healthier options in hospital vending machines encourages people to reduce their intake of both sugar and calories.
In the trial, unhealthier snacks were removed from vending machines. Healthier products were added and made visible.
The pilot, conducted at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, found that as a result of the change:
- sales of bottled water rose by 54 per cent, while 38 per cent fewer sugary drinks were bought.
- sales of crisps fell.
- while the overall sales of drinks and snacks went up, the products sold contained 25 per cent less sugar and 26 per cent less calories.
Public Health England (PHE), which evaluated the results of the trial, said changing the nutritional profile of products offered in hospital vending machines could help tackle obesity among NHS staff, visitors and patients.
“Vending machines are commonly found in hospitals. They have a captive audience of staff, patients and visitors who may be overexposed to foods and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar,” said Dr Tim Chadborn, PHE’s head of behavioural insights.
“This study shows healthier choices can be good for profits and good for our waistlines. With obesity costing the NHS billions each year, we would like to see more trusts leading by example and promoting healthier options.”