Bloomberg’s Latest Plan Will Remove Junk Food From Hospitals

By Amir Khan on September 27, 2012 11:03 AM EDT

Bloomberg
First a smoking ban, then a soda ban, and now a junk food ban? New York's Mayor Bloomberg's latest plan would remove all junk food and fatty foods from hospitals (Photo: Creative Commons)

First a smoking ban, then a soda ban, and now a junk food ban? New York's Mayor Bloomberg's latest plan would remove all junk food and fatty foods from hospitals -- meaning anyone waiting for their loved one to come out of surgery may have to settle for a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar.

In recent years, 15 public hospitals in NYC have cut calories and sugar out of patient meals. But the city is now tackling cafeteria food as well. Hospitals that have signed on, including 16 private, say that it would be hypocritical to serve patients healthy food while serving visitors fat-laden food.

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"If there's any place that should not allow smoking or try to make you eat healthy, you would think it'd be the hospitals," Bloomberg said Monday. "We're doing what we should do and you'll see, I think, most of the private hospitals go along with it."

The ban will take deep fryers out of hospital cafeterias and make salads a mandatory option. In addition, only healthy snacks will be allowed near cash registers and in vending machines. Half of all sandwiches sold must be on whole grain bread and half-size sandwiches must be available for sale.

"People sometimes right now don't have healthy options," Christine Curtis, the city Health Department's director of nutrition strategy, told CBS News. "So you are there at 2 in the morning and maybe your only choice is soda and chips."

Some hospitals, such as Montefiore Medical Center, which operates several hospitals in the Bronx, has been instituting changes for a number of years now.

"We took ice cream out of the cafeterias and began serving more whole grains," Dr. Andrew Racine, chief medical officer, told CBS News. "We changed white rice to brown rice."

But not everyone agrees. Herbert Padilla, a retired Manhattan hairdresser who is undergoing treatment for a nerve disorder, said he's a fan of offering healthy alternatives, but says being forced into it is unfair.

"The mayor is going too far with this. It's ridiculous," he said. "We're being told what to eat and what to drink. We're not living in a free country anymore."

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