NEW YORK CITY -- Vending machine menus in private New York City hospitals will get a healthy makeover under another initiative from Bloomberg, who has made public well-being a symbol of his nearly 11-year tenure.
The Big Apple became the first in the nation to ban "supersize" sugar-sweetened beverages on Sept. 13. | SEE STORY
Bloomberg's Health Department has also set nutritional standards for vending machines in city facilities, including public hospitals, and is now asking private healthcare facilities to follow suit.
Its voluntary Healthy Hospital Food Initiative calls for participants to adopt standards for vending machines, cafeterias and patient meals. For vending, that includes decreasing the number and portion size of high-calorie beverages while promoting "healthier" options and exclusively merchandising snacks that meet sodium, calorie and fat limits.
Separately, Richard B. Becker, chief executive of Brooklyn Hospital Center, a private Brooklyn hospital, recently defended the conventional candy and chips in the hospital's emergency room vending machines at a community board meeting, saying people prefer them over healthy snacks when they're in the middle of a crisis. | READ MORE
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's crusade for public health has also enacted a trans fat ban in restaurants and calorie-counts on chain restaurant menus. In his first move, Bloomberg led the initiative that banned smoking in city restaurants and bars in 2003. That prohibition sparked a fury with vending operators providing amusement and jukebox services to the city's bars. Last year, the city extended the ban to parks, beaches, marinas and pedestrian plazas, including Times Square. Bloomberg admitted he has spent more than $600 million of his personal fortune to curb smoking around the globe.