6 local hospitals recognized for healthy food

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Several local hospitals were honored for transforming their food programs. (WPVI)

Six local hospitals were honored at City Hall Wednesday for increasing access to fresh, healthy food for patients, employees and visitors.

One honoree, Temple University Hospital, has transformed their cafeteria, offering more fruits and vegetables thanks to The Common Market, a non-profit which helps distribute local produce.

Chef Jeffery Klova says one of his favorites are the heirloom tomatoes, but the menu depends on the season.

"We also do a really nice job with some of the fresh local greens that are available earlier in the year and that kind of introduces us to the growing season," Klova said.

For staff and visitors, this means healthy options are available 24/7.

For patients, it means vegetables with every meal.

The idea is to at least introduce healthy produce.

"So they can see what healthy foods are and take that information home with them," Michelle Ondeck-Williams, Temple Health clinical nutritionist, said.

The 'Good Food, Healthy Hospitals' initiative is a four-year government-funded program with the goal of changing the food environment.

An unhealthy diet can lead to poor overall health.

"It's a huge health problem, and not just for obesity which often brings people into the issue, but also high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease," Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner, said.

Farley says Philadelphia has high rates of all these conditions which is why this program is especially important here.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America was also recognized and their chef served up healthy fare at the reception.

Jeanes, Einstein and Episcopal also scored high marks.

Lankaneu Medical Center was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The Health Department and the American Heart Association are also part of this initiative.

Helping people eat healthy can not only prevent medical problems.

It can also help save on healthcare costs.
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