Medicine

NHS introduces calorie cap on confectionery sold in hospitals

NHS introduces calorie cap on confectionery sold in hospitals

Super-size bars of chocolates and "grab bags" of crisps must be banished from the shelves of hospital shops, the head of the NHS has ordered.

Health chiefs say they want to target "super-sized" snacks but the move could see chocolate, sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks outlawed in nearly all hospitals in England.

This means that most larger packs of chocolate and "grab bags" of candies will be taken off the shelves, with NHS hospitals given a cash boost if they facilitate the move.

NHS CEO has asked hospitals shops to not stock chocolate bars or other confectionary items offering more than 250 calories.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said that the agency is "stepping up" its efforts to combat an issue that is causing "an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer".

The aim is to replace the calorie-laden, sugary snacks that are now available in hospitals with healthier foods. Meanwhile almost 700,000 of the NHS's 1.3 million staff are estimated to be overweight or obese.

The rules cover hot drinks - such as sweet coffees and sugary milk drinks, as well as fruit juices containing extra sugar.

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Action has already been taken to remove price promotions and stop sales at checkouts on sugary drinks and foods high in fat, sugar or salt; end advertisements of these foods on NHS premises; and ensure healthy food options are available at all times, including for those people working night shifts.

Public Health England says the role hospitals play in tackling obesity should not just be treating those who suffer its consequences; they should also be helping to prevent obesity in the first place.

"Any plans to offer healthier food are a positive step towards tackling the country's obesity problem".

Around one million morbidly obese adults will qualify for the injections.

Andrew Roberts, from the Royal Voluntary Service, said that in the first quarter of 2017 its outlets had seen year-on-year sales of fruit increase by 25 per cent and healthier chilled snacks like salad and sushi by 55 per cent.

Helen Dickens, from Diabetes UK, welcomed the moves, which she said would make it easier for everyone to make healthier choices, especially while in hospital.


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