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OBJECTIVE: To assess whether the food and drink retail outlets in two major National Health Service (NHS) district general hospitals in England adhere to quality statements 1-3 of the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) quality standard 94.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional, descriptive study to assess the food and drink options available in vending machines, restaurants, cafes and shops in two secondary care hospitals.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adherence to quality statement 1 whereby the food and drink items available in the vending machines were classified as either healthy or less healthy using the Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM). Compliance with quality statements 2 and 3 was assessed through the measurement of how clearly the shops, cafes and restaurants displayed nutrition information on menus, and the availability and prominent display of healthy food and drink options in retail outlets, respectively.
RESULTS: Adherence to quality statement 1 was poor. Of the 18 vending machines assessed, only 7 (39%) served both a healthy food and a healthy drink option. Neither hospital was compliant with quality statement 2 wherein nutritional information was not available on menus of food providers in either hospital. There was inconsistent compliance with quality standard 3 whereby healthy food and drink options were prominently displayed in the two main hospital restaurants, but all shops and cafes prioritised the display of unhealthy items.
CONCLUSIONS: Neither hospital was consistently compliant with quality statements 1-3 of the NICE quality standard 94. Improving the availability of healthy foods and drinks while reducing the display and accessibility to less healthy options in NHS venues may improve family awareness of healthy alternatives. Making it easier for parents to direct their children to healthier choices is an ostensibly central component of our healthcare system.
- Journal Article