New York City hospitals cracking down on junk food

NEW YORK

In recent years, 15 public hospitals have cut calories in patients' meals and restricted the sale of sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks at vending machines. The hospitals say it would be hypocritical of them to serve unhealthy food to patients who are often suffering from obesity and other health problems.

But Mayor Michael Bloomberg also wants to tackle hospital cafeteria food.

In the past year, 16 private hospitals have signed on to the Health Hospital Food Initiative which will ban deep fryers and make leafy green salads a mandatory option.

Only healthy snacks will be stocked near the cafeteria entrance and at cash registers. And at least half of all sandwiches and salads must be made or served with whole grains. Also, half-size sandwich portions must be available for sale.

Critics say the hospital initiative is yet another sign that Bloomberg is running a "nanny state," even though the guidelines are voluntary and other cities -- including Boston -- have undertaken similar efforts.

Bloomberg says, "If there's any place that should not allow smoking or try to make you eat healthy, you would think it'd be the hospitals."

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