Our healthcare providers are reluctant to implement a healthier solution even with our acute knowledge of disease prevention and nutrition. Should healthcare settings not be paving the way in minimising the availability of unhealthy food items? Unhealthy hospital food is one of the greatest contradictions. The irony paints an unpromising picture of our healthcare system’s proactivity and the public health message it communicates is inconsistent with its cause.
Here are some irrefutable stats in support of healthcare settings implementing a healthier food solution:
Our NHS trust profited approximately £14 million in 2018 by selling traditional vending products. The average snack vending machine is jam-packed with high-fat, sugar and salt foods, holding only 14% of products labelled as better for you. Usually, these limited and tokenish items are banished to the bottom spirals. An investigation verified that hospitals were profiting big-time from selling crisps, chocolate, sweets and energy drinks. With the wide variety of healthy vending products on the market, this is redundant. At Doozy, we are a healthy option majority with a handful of treats. Our evolving product menu can contribute to your daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals, a good source of fibre and protein and one of your five-a-day – a guideline target that only 8% of teenagers and a third of adults meet daily.
When the hospital canteen is closed at night, the staff, patients and visitors rely on food from a traditional vending machine. This is likely why this study found that night shift workers were associated with a 29% higher risk of obesity.
From 2021 to 2022, 63.8% of adults aged 18 years and over in England were estimated to be overweight or living with obesity. Obesity is a major public health problem and the second biggest preventable cause of cancer. The UK has one of the highest obesity rates globally and obesity-related illnesses cost our NHS approximately £6.5 billion a year. Heart disease, type II diabetes and high blood pressure conditions may be ameliorated to an extent if the food offerings are swapped to one that promotes healthier choices.
23.4% of children aged 10-11 years in England are living with childhood obesity. Sugar is a major culprit in driving up people’s weight, including children, and its associated adverse health effects. According to recent NHS Digital data, children’s oral health is deteriorating. The main reason for children of primary school age being admitted to hospital is multiple tooth extractions. It’s a plain paradox that the hospitals admitting cases of poor children’s oral health display readily available, high-sugar food and beverages, and in some cases, as the sole option accessible.
A healthy vending trial within an NHS hospital saw sales increase with 25% less sugar and 26% fewer calories. The response from Public Health England corroborated that healthier vending products could help tackle obesity among staff, patients and visitors. Sales doubled after Doozy installed a healthy vending solution at Salisbury District Hospital. In 2015, Doozy was installed at several sites in SDH. Sales doubled from the previous standing. Healthy vending was a successful hit. Over 50% of consumers in the UK are eating packaged, healthier snacks like rice cakes, cereal bars and nuts. People’s opinions on healthy food have changed – now, it is delicious and nutritious not bland and unimaginative.
The average vending machine in the UK contains only 39% of low-sugar, diet or water-based drinks. People are realising the adverse health effects of sugar and are searching for ways to reduce sugar intake. People have been led to believe that artificial sweeteners are an improvement from sugar. However, artificial sweeteners can be harmful with research publicising a link to a higher risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer. Cawston Press, Juice Burst and Get More Vits are refreshing alternatives to sugar and sweeteners available in our Doozy machines.
The UK sugar tax caused an increase in the sale of low-sugar soft drinks. Heavy criticism aside, the sugar tax in April 2018 caused soft drink brands to lower the high volumes of sugar and a rise in sales for soft drinks not affected by the tax (soft drinks already low in sugar). The popularity of low-sugar, diet or water-based drinks is increasing.
If the trajectory is not altered, by 2045, half of Brits will be obese. With the insurmountable pressure of obesity on our healthcare system already, this forecast is a huge cause for concern.