Bendigo Health is no longer selling sugar sweened beverages in its brand new hospital.
Main retailer Zouki has also changed its food menu. The new menu offers an increased range of healthy foods.
The menu change is based upon Victoria's 'healthy choices' guidelines.
Sugar sweetened drinks have also been removed from all on-site vending machines.
Bendigo Health has made these changes without any push from state or federal government.
If it was not required of Bendigo Health to make these changes, why has is gone to all the effort?
Director of Healthy Communities, Andrea Sloane said that this initiative demonstrates the commitment of Bendigo Health towards the health of the community.
Ms. Sloane noted that as a health service, Bendigo Health needs to be a role model.
This can send a message to the community that sugar sweetened drinks are not part of a healthy diet, and have no place in a hospital.
Bendigo Health is focused on health outcomes right now, and also into the future, added Ms. Sloane.
Removing sugar sweetened drinks from a hospital takes hard work and strong leadership.
The process involved working with for-profit companies and this brings about challenges. There is however, clear evidence around the negative effects of sugar sweetened drinks, and more and more companies appear to be starting to recognise this.
Ms. Sloane noted that Bendigo Health's position as a major leader in the region can serve as an inspiration for other organisations towards making similar changes.
Australians are consuming too much sugar in theur daily diets. Sugar sweetened drinks are the highest source of added sugar in diets.
Too much sugar intake is linked to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and overweight and obesity.
Removing sugar sweetened drinks and improving the food menu may result in less intake of sugar sweetened drinks and unhealthy food by people visiting the health service.
The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne has shown that when hospitals offered more healthy choices it did not affect income for retailers.
GREATER will be interested to hear from Bendigo Health about what outcomes may happen from this.
This is a powerful display of leadership, and shows dedication to the health of the community.
It will be interesting to see if other services follow in their footsteps.