Carbonated soft drinks contribute about 7 percent of calories in the American diet. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Crouse Hospital will launch Rethink Your Drink, a national public health campaign started by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage wellness through better beverage selections.
Coolers in the hospital’s Clock Tower Café and at Lindsey’s Café in the hospital’s main lobby will sport new signage that will visually assist diners in selecting beverages that are, based on calories, better choices. In order to encourage healthier beverage choices and discourage options that contribute to chronic disease, beverages will be designated as green, yellow or red. Green beverages will be those under 50 calories; yellow between 50 and 150 calories; and red will mark drinks with 150 calories or more.
The coding program is modeled after a study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital and outlined in a report that appeared in the March 2012 American Journal of Public Health. "We found that labeling all foods and beverages with a simple red, yellow and green color scheme to indicate their relative healthiness led patrons to purchase more of the healthy and fewer of the unhealthy items," says Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH, of the MGH division of General Medicine, who led the study. "We also found that moving items around to make the healthy items more convenient and visible led to further improvement in the nutritional quality of items purchased."
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Clock Tower Café employees and visitors can chat with Sara Kohlbrenner, RN, BSN, MPH, Crouse Wellness and Population Health Coordinator, and Heather Neely, RD, about making more informed decisions. An educational display will also provide information about cutting calories by simply choosing beverages that fall in the green zone. Employees may also participate in the Rethink Your Drink “challenge” by tracking the number of green, yellow and red items they consume over four weeks. Those who submit their log will be entered into a drawing for healthy prizes.
Rethink Your Drink is being supported by the Clock Tower Café and PepsiCo in partnership with Crouse’s employee wellness initiative, “Simply Well.” In addition to Meatless Mondays and Wellness Wednesdays offered through the Clock Tower Cafe, Simply Well provides a wide range of resources, including educational wellness programs, ongoing classes, fitness opportunities and activity challenges for Crouse employees.