Poutine, bacon cheeseburgers and pop are still for sale at Halifax hospitals, and a group of local health professionals want to purge them from the menu.
“We’re trying to find people who are doing it right,” said Rob Stevenson, a cardiologist who just finished his residency in Halifax.
Stevenson, who is now based in Saint John, N.B., and a group of other cardiologists, nurse practitioners and dieticians from Halifax launched an online survey for hospital cafeteria customers.
The survey asks respondents whether their hospital cafeteria uses deep fryers and sells junk food and whether whole grains, fruits and vegetables are on the menu.
And people from across the country have responded.
He feels strongly about the issue, saying the health system can’t keep up if obesity and diabetes rates continue to soar.
“This isn’t just a group of physicians with bad attitudes saying this is how it needs to be,” he said.
In March, the group crossed the street to Citadel High in support of the healthy eating policy in all Nova Scotia schools, but ironically, students go to the hospital to dine on poutine and pop.
Stevenson said the goal would be for Capital Health to have a similar healthy-eating policy to the Nova Scotia school system.
Jane Pryor, Capital Health director of food and nutrition services, says its customers are adults who can make their own decisions.
She said healthy options are already widely available in hospital cafeterias and nutritional information is on the way.
She said Capital Health’s goal is to become trans fat free, something it’s been working toward for three years.
“We are looking for alternates,” she said.
Capital Health plans to also consult its cafeteria customers about healthy eating in the coming months and then draft a new menu.
“Healthy eating at Capital Health will look significantly different in the next two years,” she said.