Premier Health Changes Beverage Policy

Premier Pulse     September 2017

In keeping with Premier Health’s mission to improve the health of the communities we serve, we would like to give you advance notice of a change that we are implementing to benefit our 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 our 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, we will be surveying employees later this year about their beverage preferences. The results will help inform how we stock our vending machines 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, we have seen the percentage of employees who are at “high health risk” decrease 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, we announced 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. We also continue to increase the number of items that qualify for a “green leaf” designation.

Our 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. Above all, we want our workplace to be a positive influence on your health and well-being.

Your understanding is appreciated as we take this important step to maintain our momentum in fulfilling our mission. 

Back to the September 2017 issue of Premier Pulse

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