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NHS England cracks down on sale of unhealthy foods in hospitals

NHS England has today told hospitals to stop selling super-size chocolate bars and “grab bags” of high-sugar snacks in its latest measure to promote healthy living in hospitals.

Following the announcement that sugary drinks would be banned from hospitals from 2018 back in April, Simon Stevens has said that a 250-calorie limit on confectionary sold in hospital canteens, stores, vending machines and other outlets will be imposed.

Hospital bosses will now have to make sure that four out of five items purchased on premises do not go over this limit – which is an eight of a woman’s and a tenth of a man’s recommended daily intake.

Failure to do this could result in hospitals losing ringfenced funding for improving the health of staff, patients and their visitors.

NHS England is also cracking down on sandwiches and drinks in a bid to limit the availability of unhealthy food in hospitals.

“The NHS is now stepping up action to combat the ‘super-size’ snack culture which is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer,” said NHS England CEO Simon Stevens.

“In place of calorie-laden, sugary snacks we want to make healthier food an easy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors.”

His organisation has also already removed price promotions and stop sales at checkouts on sugary drinks and foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and have dropped the advertising of these foods on NHS premises.

Next year, health services will also be given financial incentives if they make further efforts including making sure that 80% of confectionery and sweets do not exceed 250 kcal, and that 75% of pre-packed sandwiches and other savoury pre-packed meals contain only 400 kcal or less per serving.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, added: “Hospitals have an important role in addressing obesity – not just treating those suffering the consequences, but helping to prevent it in the first place.

“Any plans to offer healthier food are a positive step towards tackling the country’s obesity problem.”


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