The NHS has cracked down on the availability of ‘super-size’ chocolate bars and ‘grab bags’ of sugary snacks hospitals as part of its plan to tackle obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced a 250 calorie limit on confectionary sold in hospital canteens, stores, vending machines and other outlets. Unless a minimum of 80 per cent of items purchased on hospital premises comply with the new guidelines, hospitals could lose out on financial incentives for improving the health of staff, patients and visitors.

The plans also stipulate that:

  • 75 per cent of pre-packed sandwiches and other savoury pre-packed meals should contain no more than 400kcal and 5g saturated fat per serving
  • 80 per cent of drinks must have less than 5g added sugar per 100ml.

Simon Stevens said: “The NHS is now stepping up action to combat the ‘super-size’ snack culture which is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer.

“In place of calorie-laden, sugary snacks we want to make healthier food an ea

NHS sugar crackdown

sy option for hospital staff, patients and visitors.”

Andrew Roberts, business enterprise manager for Royal Voluntary Service, said his organisation “welcomed the decision”, and described how its previous efforts had helped people in hospitals make healthier decisions: “We took an early lead on the NHS workforce healthy agenda by introducing our Healthier Choices programme and it is already having a significant effect on consumer behaviour. In the first quarter of 2017, year-on-year sales of fruit increased by 25 per cent, healthier chilled snacks like salad and sushi by 55 per cent and healthier sweet and savoury snacks like popcorn and dried fruit by 109 per cent.”

“We will be implementing these new guidelines and are hopeful that they will result in healthier food being a more consistent feature in all hospital retailers.”

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