NYC's Bloomberg looks to improve hospital food

initiative will ban fryers, require leafy greens as an option and focus on offering healthy snacks.

Sept. 25—In one of his latest health campaigns, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is aiming to banish sugary and fatty foods from both public and private hospitals.

In recent years, the city’s 15 public hospitals have cut calories in patients’ meals and restricted the sale of sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks at vending machines. But now the city is tackling hospital cafeteria food, too. And the Healthy Hospital Food Initiative is expanding its reach: In the past year, 16 private hospitals have signed on.

Earlier this month, the city moved to ban the sale of big sodas and other sugary drinks at fast-food restaurants and theaters, beginning in March. Critics say the hospital initiative is yet another sign that Mr. Bloomberg is running a “nanny state,” even though the guidelines are voluntary and other cities — including Boston — have undertaken similar efforts.

The cafeteria crackdown will ban deep fryers, make leafy green salads a mandatory option and allow only healthy snacks to be stocked near the cafeteria entrance and at cash registers. At least half of all sandwiches and salads must be made or served with whole grains. Half-size sandwich portions must be available for sale.

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