Study shows Calif. children's hospitals largely fail to provide healthy items

Dec. 1—Only 7% of entrées served in California children’s hospitals can be classified as healthy, according to a study published in Academic Pediatrics.

The research was conducted by UCLA and the Rand Corp., a nonprofit that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis. The authors studied 14 food venues in 12 of California’s major children’s hospitals. The researchers developed a modified version of the Nutrition Environment Measures Scale for Restaurants (NEMS-R) to assess the healthfulness of meals. The system took into account pricing, availability of vegetables, nutrition labeling, combo promotions and healthy beverages.

The average score was 19.1, with 37 being the most healthy. Of the total 359 entrées the hospitals served, only 7% were classified as healthy. Less than one-third of the locations posted nutrition information at the point of sale or had signs to promote healthy eating.

Other findings include:

  • All venues offered low-fat or skim milk and diet soda
  • 81% offered high-calorie, high-sugar items such as cookies or ice cream near the cash register
  • 25% sold whole-wheat bread
  • 50% of the hospitals did not provide any indication that they carried healthy entrées
  • 44% did not have low-calorie salad dressings

The study was conducted in July 2010, so the researchers did say that some hospitals have taken steps to offer healthier items.

“The steps some hospitals are already taking to improve nutrition and reduce junk food are encouraging,” Dr. Lenard Lesser, primary investigator and a physician in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program in the department of family medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “We plan to make this nutritional quality measurement tool available to hosptials around the country to help them assess and improve their food offerings.”

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
coffee senior living

From Keurig Green Mountain.

Healthcare foodservice represents the perfect environment for serving coffee. For the time-crunched staff, family and friends visiting patients, and seniors craving a treat, snack, or pick-me-up, coffee is considered a valuable amenity.

What’s more, purchasing beverages away from home is a popular habit. According to Technomic’s 2016 Beverage report, consumers average 3.6 drink purchases per week from foodservice outlets. And coffee is one of the most popular beverage options— Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion report found 61% of consumers say...

Industry News & Opinion

South Valley Preparatory School in Albuquerque, N.M., has launched a range of healthy eating initiatives to combat obesity, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The initiatives are in response to a State of Obesity report that stated that nearly a quarter of 10- to 17-year-olds in New Mexico were overweight or obese in 2016. The school banned junk food on campus during school hours for both students and staff, and offers healthy seasonal meals in its cafeteria. Students also take weekly trips to local farms to get an inside look at where their food comes from.

While the school...

Industry News & Opinion

Food delivery company Good Uncle is expanding to 15 college campuses this fall, The Daily Orange reports.

The company plans to grow along the East Coast and is looking at opening at schools such as George Washington University, Pennsylvania State University, Villanova University and American University. Good Uncle hopes to open at 50 to 100 campuses by 2019.

Starting as a delivery-only kitchen in 2016, Good Uncle partners with local restaurants to recreate their popular dishes and then deliver them to college students. The company offers free delivery, no delivery minimum...

Ideas and Innovation
wahoo tacos

School lunch is heating up. As expectations rise in the noncommercial sector, the old-fashioned cafeteria has become a hot topic. Political pressure on schools has seesawed over the past eight years, and nutritional regulations on items like sodium and whole grains have been overhauled (and back again). Meanwhile, students, parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers are demanding more healthfulness and better taste from school meals, often for the same cost.

Yet the industry’s best are dedicated to getting better, even while looking to the future with caution. “There’s not...

FSD Resources