In the News
Just 7% of entrees served in 14 food venues at major children's hospitals in California are classified as “healthy,” as judged by a national standard (Nutrition Environment Measures Scale for Restaurants) in a study in the January–February issue of Academic Pediatrics. Using a scale ranging from 0 (least healthful) to 37 (most healthful), the 14 sites had an average score of 19. Most venues offered low-fat or skim milk, diet soda, and fresh fruit, but 81% placed high-calorie, sugary foods like ice cream, cookies, and candy near cash registers. Only 25% of hospitals offered whole wheat bread, and 44% had no low-calorie salad dressings. Inexpensive ways to improve nutritional status, such as using signs to promote healthful choices and eliminating unhealthful impulse foods at cash registers, were underused. “Because visitors to hospitals believe that the foods the hospital offers are more likely to be healthy, hospitals should make an effort to meet this expectation,” write the authors.