Hospitals to offer healthier food, fizzy drinks will be banned


Eleven Dutch hospitals have decided they will promote healthy eating for patients, visitors and staff ahead of the previously agreed to date of January 1, 2025.

The government’s health plan for the nation, the Nationaal Preventieakkoord, includes the stipulation that half of hospitals must commit to a healthier choice of food by 2025 and that all hospitals must do so by 2030.

The hospitals have now committed to the earlier date of January 1, 2022.

‘People who are ill in hospital are more receptive to the message of healthier eating,’ Mirjam van ‘t Veld, chairwoman of the board of the Gelderse Vallei hospital, told broadcaster NOS. Healthier food, containing very little salt, can help patients recuperate sooner, and free up hospital beds more quickly, Van ‘t Veld said.

Visitors are encouraged to change their unhealthy habits too and fizzy drinks, for example, will no longer be available.

The food advisory body Voedingscentrum warned not to ‘force healthy eating down people’s throat’. ‘People don’t like others telling what they should and shouldn’t eat,’ spokesman Roel Hermans told the broadcaster. ‘You don’t have to ban unhealthy food but research shows that people often go for what is nearest so that is something you can influence.’

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