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Colorado hospital cuts food prices to encourage healthy eating

A US hospital has become one of the first in the country to charge people more for unhealthy food.

Posted : 20 August 2012

Last week the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado, lowered the price of healthy foods including salad, fruit and vegetables.

Part of its pilot Healthy U Picks programme, a vegetarian hamburger now costs 25 per cent less than its meat equivalent.

A survey conducted last year revealed that cost was a major factor in whether or not patients, visitors and staff picked healthy options at the hospital canteen, which serves 1,000-1,200 people a day.

“Hospitals have a responsibility to give the community a chance to eat healthier,” said the hospital’s food director Robyn Smith Brown. “We are a hospital, but we aren’t just helping sick people, we are
promoting health as well.

She added that business had been brisk as a result of the move: “We had a significant difference in how many people got veggie burgers compared to hamburgers; we even ran out of the veggie burgers, which is a good problem.”

The hospital is now hoping to inspire other restaurants in the community to follow its lead to improve lifestyle choices and help change the way people eat.

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