As employers, healthcare providers, and anchor institutions, healthcare organizations hold a significant interest in the health of their employees and patients. They also have a key leadership role to play in helping to create healthier communities by modeling policy, systems, and environmental changes that can shift the social norms that promote chronic disease and premature death. As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates, diet-related chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension contribute to health inequities in multiple ways. As the single largest source of added sugar in the U.S. diet and a key risk factor for diet-related chronic diseases, public health experts agree that consumption of sugary drinks is one of the social norms that must be changed.
The Public Health Law Center and the American Cancer Society partnered to create new resources to support healthcare settings and other organizations improve their food and beverage environments, including through policies to reduce or eliminate sugary drinks. These resource include a report about how we used a Learning Lab model to support healthcare organizations make positive changes during challenging times, a case study, and an updated Healthy Healthcare Toolkit. Although these resources focus on beverages and healthcare settings, many of the principles and approaches outlined in it also can be applied to food environments and to other types of organizational settings as well.