UMHHC promotes healthy beverages this fall

In a recent communication from Chief Medical Officer Skip Campbell, M.D. and Chief Operating Officer Tony Denton, plans to further promote healthy nutrition were announced.

Reinforcing its commitment to nutrition and healthy lifestyles, the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers is set to become among the first providers in Michigan to promote healthy beverage consumption by discontinuing sugar-sweetened beverages.

Starting in mid-November, UMHCC will no longer sell regular soda and other sugary drinks in vending, cafeteria and patient care areas. The new initiative is part of UMHHC’s efforts to model healthy behavior by providing healthier food options for patients, visitors, faculty and staff. The U-M Medical School is also participating in this initiative.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are a source of nutrition-less or “empty” calories in the American diet and a significant contributor to obesity,” says Valerie Castle, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “By providing healthier beverage options within the Hospitals and Health Centers, we are making it easier for our community to achieve healthier lifestyles.”

Why is UMHHC making this change?

Studies indicate that consumption of these beverages is associated with overweight/obesity, cardiovascular disease, poor bone and joint health and poor dental health.

“Calories from sugar sweetened beverages are a significant contributor to obesity and its attendant risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke in our country,” says Kim Eagle, M.D., Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine and director of the Cardiovascular Center at the U-M Health System.

The American Heart Association states most American women should consume less than 100 calories or 25 grams from added sugars each day and most American men should consume less than 150 calories or 38 grams. The average 12 ounce can of soda can contains 150 empty calories and 40 grams of sugar.

“The Health System is committed to providing healthy options to our community,” says Tony Denton, chief operating officer, UMHHC.

More than 60 percent of daily food options at the UH Cafeteria and NICK’s as well as 90 percent at the CVC meet MHealthy’s guidelines. In recent years, Health System efforts have also included removal of Trans fats from patient and cafeteria foods. In addition, many items on patient menus are designated as MHealthy.

“By being one of the first major health systems in Michigan to implement this program, the U-M Health System is further establishing itself as a leader in all aspects of health care,” adds Denton.

The move puts U-M at the forefront of a growing national trend among health care facilities, including Seattle Children’s Hospital, Indiana University, Cleveland Clinic, Vanguard Health, and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

The healthy beverage program is supported by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Program details:
In mid-November, sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) will be removed from UMHHC Retail Food Services, Vending Services and Patient Food & Nutrition Services. This includes all vending machines, coffee kiosks and cafeterias in the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers both on and off the Medical Campus. Offsite buildings will be included as well.

SSBs include carbonated soft drinks, fruit flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened teas and coffees. Water, milk, juice and diet beverages will be available.

Patients, visitors and staff can bring their own beverages to the Hospitals and Health Centers and inpatients will be allowed to consume SSBs under the care and approval of their physician. Food service staff will be trained to respond to patient inquiries about this change.

For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Craig Luck, Support Services/Hospital Operations at or Director of Patient Food and Nutrition Services Joyce Kerestes at

For more information, including frequently asked questions, visit

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