The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier, has recognized MaineHealth with the Healthier Future Award.
Nearly 10 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. have joined PHA's Hospital Healthier Food Initiative. As one of the first hospital systems to join in October 2012, MaineHealth has delivered healthier options for patients, visitors and employees eating at 10 of its member or affiliate facilities across the state. Through this partnership, MaineHealth has worked to:
- Offer daily wellness meals that meet nutrition standards and are priced less than or equal to other available meal options
- Increase healthier options in the checkout area by displaying only health-promoting food options within five feet of cash register stations
- Label menu items with calories per serving
- Remove all fryers and most deep fat-fried products
- Ensure that fruits and vegetables account for at least 10 percent of total food purchased by the hospital
- Increase the percentage of better-for-you beverages purchased by the hospital
MaineHealth has provided access to a wider variety of nutritious choices for more than 12,000 pediatric patients moving in and out of its hospitals, as well as more than 173,000 adult patients and nearly 13,000 employees.
“People connect with a hospital during their most intimate and extraordinary circumstances – from joyous occasions like childbirth to episodes of severe sickness. Organizations like MaineHealth who offer more choices for their patients and staff, know that eating well is important to feel well. They are leaders in their communities and in their industries by providing more, healthier options for all they serve,” said Lawrence A. Soler, PHA President and CEO.
MaineHealth has made significant strides in the effort to create an overall culture of health at its 10 hospitals, developing a special logo to designate better-for-you food options in order to drive customers to make healthier choices. As a result, just two years after launching PHA’s Hospital Healthier Food Initiative, employee Health Risk Assessment data showed consumption of five or more fruit/vegetable servings increased by 17.6 percentage points, rising from 35.1 percent in 2012 to 52.7 percent in 2014.
“We are honored to receive this important award. Our food service teams across the MaineHealth system have exhibited tremendous leadership, innovation and teamwork in creating and promoting healthy food choices for our patients, families and employees,” said MaineHealth President William L. Caron, Jr. “The successful results they’ve achieved reflect their ongoing dedication to our vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.”
MaineHealth member or affiliated hospitals involved in the initiative included:
- Maine Medical Center
- Mid Coast-Parkview Health
- Pen Bay Medical Center
- Spring Harbor Hospital
- Stephens Memorial Hospital
- St. Mary’s Health System
- Southern Maine Health Care, Biddeford
- Southern Maine Health Care, Sanford
- Waldo County General Hospital