Essentia Health Removing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages from Twin Port Campuses

By KBJR News 1

Essentia Health Removing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages from Twin Port Campuses

July 1, 2013 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 6:26 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Starting Monday, Essentia Health will begin phasing out sugar-sweetened beverages on its downtown Duluth and Superior campuses.

Essentia spokespeople say they are joining other health systems in the Northland and nationwide that are making the healthy change.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are a significant source of empty calories,” says Dr. Anne Stephen, an Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic pediatrician. “They contribute directly to our nation’s obesity epidemic.”

According to hospital officials, studies show the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages leads to weight gain and obesity, which can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other health problems.

The American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others have called for reductions and limits on the consumption of these beverages.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are defined as those to which sugars, like high fructose corn syrup or sucrose, have been added. They include regular soft drinks, fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice, sports drinks and energy drinks. They also include bottled, pre-packaged tea and coffee drinks high in sugar.

Essentia spokespeople say they will continue to serve and sell water, low-fat and non-fat milk, unsweetened coffee and teas, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices and diet soft drinks.

“By phasing out these beverages, Essentia is being true to our mission of promoting good health,” says Dr. Timothy Zager, president of Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic.

Officials say that in some circumstances, sugar-sweetened beverages will be available to patients by request, if these beverages are not prohibited by the patient’s dietary restrictions.

The change affects cafeterias, coffee shops, gift shops and vending machines on the Duluth and Superior campuses.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns