Premier Health Changes Beverage Policy

In keeping with Premier Health’s mission to improve the health of the communities it serves, there are changes to benefit employees.

What is the change? 

Effective January 1, 2018, Premier Health will no longer sell sugary beverages in vending machines and retail areas (cafeterias, coffee shops, food courts) on its hospital campuses, in its offices, and at other sites of service. Nonsugary beverages such as diet soda, 100 percent fruit juice, and sparkling water will continue to be available for purchase. Given the number of vending machines and points of sale, the phase-out of sugary beverages will begin late this fall.

This change reflects a great deal of thoughtful consideration about the health of Premier Health employees. It also acknowledges a great deal of science showing a convincing link between sugary beverages and a range of health risks, from weight gain to the development of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Pepsi will continue to serve as Premier Health’s beverage vendor. It offers the most extensive range of noncarbonated and nonsugary drinks. Employees can continue to choose from a large range of beverage options. In addition, employees will be surveyed later this year about their beverage preferences. The results will help inform how vending machines are stocked in the future.

Why is this change being made? 

This change is part of a broader effort to improve employee health, including biometric screenings and workplace wellness challenges such as our recent “Whole Life” and hydration challenges. Such efforts already have paid significant dividends. For example, the percentage of employees who are at “high health risk” has decreased from 5.3 percent in 2013 to 2.4 percent in 2016. In addition, more than 1,460 employees lost a combined 2.94 tons of weight through our weight race earlier this year.

Previously, a more healthful catering menu and more healthful retail food choices, including the use of more healthful preparation alternatives, such as baking instead of deep-frying, was introduced in the cafeterias. Premier Health continues to increase the number of items that qualify for a “green leaf” designation.

Initiatives to create a culture of wellness have garnered multiple awards from the American Heart Association, the Healthy Business Council of Ohio, and the Dayton Business Journal.

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