For Immediate Release
February 17, 2012
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Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today joined ten Boston hospitals and the American Heart Association to announce significant progress in efforts to help reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks in hospitals. These drinks are linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, and Mayor Menino has made it a priority to help residents of Boston make smarter choices for their health.
“I have been concerned for years about impact of obesity and especially about children and youth drinking sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks. My vision is to make the city of Boston a model for making the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Mayor Menino. “I commend these ten hospitals and the Public Health Commission for their leadership and for taking on the challenge of creating healthier environments for patients, staff, and visitors.”
Under the leadership of the Boston Public Health Commission, ten Boston hospitals – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Carney Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Faulkner Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, and Tufts Medical Center – have pledged to work together on efforts to reduce consumption of sugary beverages. Efforts include removing high-sugar beverages and replacing them with healthier options; displaying educational “Red-Yellow-Green” stoplight images about choosing healthy beverages; installing free water dispensers; and patient education and staff training.
This hospital partnership builds on previous efforts by the Mayor and the Public Health Commission to end the sale of sugary drinks Boston Public Schools and municipal buildings.
February is Heart Month, and Mayor Menino was pleased to be joined by Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association which has supported the effort with technical assistance and expertise on the topic.
“Together, the 10 participating hospitals, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the City of Boston have influenced a shift toward healthier lifestyle choices,” said Ms. Brown. “By restricting or eliminating access to sugar-sweetened beverages, they have been willing to make the first move in a process with great potential to improve nutritional choices in their communities. Throughout the United States, there is no precedent for what they’ve done as a collaborative.”
Dr. Paula Johnson, a cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and chair of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Board of Health, said, “Hospitals play a critically important role in public health, not only in delivering high quality medical care once people are sick, but in setting norms about how we can all live healthier lives and prevent disease in the first place. As leading institutions in our community, hospitals should be environments where making the healthy choice is the easy choice for patients, visitors, and staff.”
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Carney Hospital, and other Steward Health Care facilities,” said St. Elizabeth’s President John Polanowicz, the host for today’s announcement. “Helping our patients, families, visitors, and staff make healthy choices is a priority for us.”