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NHS should ban junk food

13th October 2008

Experts have called on the NHS to follow the examples of schools and ban sugary drinks and snacks.

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The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) wants hospitals and GP surgeries to put healthier items in its vending machines.

The organisation wants the NHS to avoid unhealthy snacks and replace them with water, fruit juices and healthy snacks.

In addition, the BDHF also wants to see hospital canteens to do the same in a move it says is essential in raising standards of dental health and general health.

The view is in line with the government’s position of wanting the NHS and the public sector as a whole to lead by example in promoting healthy food.

Many schools have already banned junk food from vending machines and canteens, however, the NHS has not been as proactive with only a handful of exceptions such as NHS Tayside in Scotland.

BDHF chief executive Nigel Carter said: "The foundation not only backs the NHS Tayside decision, but calls for a UK-side ban on sugar drinks and snacks in hospitals, surgeries and health centres.

"Sugary products taken between meals are the main cause of tooth decay, which can lead to fillings and extractions."

The Scottish government now wants other NHS bodies to follow the same example.

The Department of Health points out that in the new obesity strategy it expects the public sector to lead by example.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence also recommends the promotion of healthier food in surgeries and hospitals.

 

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