The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D) have introduced a number of changes to promote healthy eating for patients and staff. The aim is to reduce sugar and fatty food intake which are the main contributors to health issues such as obesity, musculoskeletal conditions, heart disease and tooth decay.
As part of the changes, a ban on the promotions of food and drink that are high in fat, sugar or salt has been enforced, in support of NHS England’s national campaign to reduce sales of unhealthy foods and drinks. The Trust has ensured that healthy eating options are readily available around the clock, 90% of available drinks are sugar free, healthier snacks are encouraged to be chosen as part of meal deals and that the majority of pre made food made available will contain less than 400 calories.
The news follows on from reports of UK hospital admissions for obesity more than doubling in the last four years and the recent introduction of a new ‘sugar tax’ on high-sugar drinks, enforced by Public Health England (PHE). The new policy meaning that UK manufacturers will have to pay a tax on sugary drinks was supported by figures released by PHE, showing that every 10 minutes a child in England has a tooth removed in hospital due to preventable decay.
Other staff focused health and wellbeing initiatives already in place at the L&D include a weekly walking club, stair walking challenges, a weekly fruit and veg stall, health and wellbeing days and support of national fitness initiatives and campaigns. As a result, the L&D ranked in the top 20% of UK Trusts for ‘positive action on health and wellbeing’, as identified in the latest NHS national staff survey.
Tom Chapman, Obesity Specialist Dietitian at the L&D said: “We’re pleased to have implemented changes to help promote health and wellbeing within our Trust to support our patients, staff and local community.
“Our local population unfortunately suffers from the increasing rate of obesity in adults, with over 65% of people in the area classified as overweight or obese*. We’re all partial to the odd treat, but we want to be able to offer easy access to healthier options to encourage better eating and to prevent the urge to snack on high calorie fatty foods, which in time can bring on illness or disease.”
The L&D’s specialist centre for Obesity Treatment and Research team are one of the country’s leaders in innovative research and treatment. The team provide surgical data to the national bariatric database and are regularly involved in pioneering medical trials that contribute to the continuous improvement of safety, care and treatment for bariatric patients.
*Public Health England Health Profiles 2016