Southern DHB is stepping up to take a leadership role in promoting healthy lifestyles - encouraging staff to choose healthy food and drinks and adding more healthy options at cafés, retailers and vending machines.

A new Healthy Food and Drinks Policy, being introduced starting this month, will mean more choices, with some changes already in place.

Dr Tim Mackay, Healthy Eating

Showing leadership in healthy living

“As the leading healthcare provider in the district, it's our responsibility to be an example to the communities we serve and to provide healthier food and beverage options at all Southern DHB hospitals and facilities across Otago and Southland,” says Chris Fleming, Chief Executive, Southern DHB.

“This means a range of new, healthier choices will be available from our cafés, canteens and even vending machines in the coming months. You'll see more waters, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and fewer or smaller portions sizes of sugary cakes and slices.”

Southern DHB is also working with partners and suppliers to identify new, healthier food and beverage options. New vending machines are on the way to provide more snack choices as well. As part of the new policy, artificial sweetened beverages will no longer be sold on Southern DHB premises. Instead there will be a greater selection of waters, low-fat/unflavoured milk and milk alternatives, some fruit juices, as well as coffees and teas.

Staff and visitors are still able to bring in the food and beverages of their choice. Bake sales and morning teas are also still permitted, but, as is the case with vendors, these items will have to be healthy portion sizes.

“This is the right move for our staff, patients and visitors and it sends the right message to communities we serve,” says Tim Mackay, Southern DHB dental surgeon and Deputy to the Chief Medical Officer. “We are not telling people what to do, but we hope this move, plus the promotion of healthy food and water as the best options, will encourage people to make healthier choices.”

Southern DHB’s Healthy Food and Drinks Policy:

Promotes healthy choices because it is the right thing to do;

  • Complies with Ministry of Health guidelines and is consistent with what is happening at DHBs elsewhere in the country and at hospitals and healthcare agencies worldwide;
  • Still allows for staff and visitors to bring in the food and drinks of their choice;  
  • Is an extension of the removal of sugar-sweetened drinks from SDHB facilities on July 2016.