Providence is switching to healthier drinks in 2015

December 16, 2014

Theron Park, chief executive, delivery systems

In keeping with our commitment to creating healthier communities, I’d like to announce an important change: Beginning the first week of January, Providence in Oregon will begin phasing out sugary drinks in our dining areas, vending machines, catering and gift shops. The transition should be complete by the end of March.

The change, part of our Healthy Dining Initiative, will allow us to exclusively provide the healthiest drink choices: fruit-infused water, bottled water, seltzer water, sugar-free or diet drinks, milk, and 100-percent fruit and vegetable juices. We will continue to promote water and encourage people to rethink their drinks.

Please keep in mind that people are still free to choose their beverages and may bring sugary drinks into our facilities. We’ll also make an exception for patient care areas, where regular soda will continue to be available to patients on request.

I know this switch to healthier drinks will be a challenge for some of you. Please know that I appreciate your support and understanding as we work to create a culture of health for our patients, visitors and communities – and each of you. I also hope that you’ll join me in supporting our caregivers in dining services as they help Providence make this change.

Why we’re switching to healthier drinks

We’re making this switch because sugary drinks play a major role in the development of obesity – which Providence physicians and dietitians, along with national health experts, view as a serious health problem. Sugary drinks are also a major factor in developing Type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

Providence joins the growing national trend of health care organizations that have eliminated sugary drinks, including Cleveland Clinic, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Since Oregon hospitals are just beginning to change their drink offerings, we’re proud that Providence is leading the way in making beverage choices that support good health.

Details about the change

Many of you will be interested in more details about the change. Please see our fact sheet on the switch to healthier drinks, where you can learn what drinks will be affected. You’ll also see answers to questions about diet drinks, coffee drinks and sugars in milk and juice – along with a contact for more information.