Masters Thesis

Sweet truth:: do healthcare organizations in Kern County model behaviour regarding sugar consumption?

The incidence of obesity and its consequent diseases such as diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular diseases has increased tremendously and is proving extremely costly to individuals, employers and the nation. Increased consumption of added sugar has been implicated as one of the notorious causes for this dramatic rise. This research study was conducted to find out if healthcare organizations in Kern county model behaviors regarding sugar consumption. The study was non-experimental using non-participant observation as the primary research tool. The organizations were scored based on The Hospital Nutrition Environment Scan (HNES) for cafeterias, vending machines and gift shops. Media such as television, posters, brochures and websites were also observed for artifacts related to sugar consumption. The findings suggest an overall poor nutritional environment based on the HNES. The organizations are making efforts to improve the nutritive quality of the food and beverages offered. However, food and beverages extremely high in sugar content such as sodas, juice drinks, candies and chocolate bars were seen offered at most organizations. The first recommendation is that that the organizations consider reviewing the current policies to be more inclusive of other food venues such as gift shops, coffee shops and snack bars. The second recommendation is to improve access to food and beverages that are low in sugar content.

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