Hilton Head Hospital (HHH) has recently been recognized by Working Well, a collaboration between the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and NC Prevention Partners (NCPP), for achieving the Gold Apple award. This is accomplished by creating healthy food environments throughout HHH’s campus, supported by comprehensive policies and systems where the healthy choice is the easy choice. HHH is the first Morrison account to reach this distinction. This is HHH’s second Gold recognition from Working Well. They earned the Gold Star for comprehensive employee quit tobacco systems in 2012.
HHH worked in collaboration with their food service provider, Morrison, to meet Working Well’s highest standard of excellence in providing healthy options for all employees during all shifts. They earned the Gold Apple Award by implementing five key components to a healthy food environment: pricing, access, marketing, benefits, and incentives.
“We are proud to participate in the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Working Well program and to have earned this achievement, said Mark T. O’Neil, Jr. president and CEO of Hilton Head Hospital. “The Golden Apple award is an honor that we share with Morrison Healthcare, who is dedicated to helping change people's lives through healthier food environments. Working together we are committed to making wellness a priority for our patients and our colleagues, and as a hospital and community leader, we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” said O’Neil.
HHH created and implemented a healthy food policy for their cafeteria and catered meetings. The FIT criteria and icon were adopted to indicate which items in the cafeteria are the healthy options. These healthy items account for at least 50% of all retail items in the cafeteria. Even though all vending products are equal to or less than 250 calories per package, the FIT icon is also located in the vending machines to label which items meet the criteria.
In addition to a comprehensive nutrition policy and established criteria, HHH implemented a pricing strategy to encourage employees to choose the healthier meal choice. The healthier options are priced lower than the unhealthy options. Another strategy used to promote the purchase of healthy items is through food labeling. Displaying nutrition labels for all food in the cafeteria at the point of decision, not just the healthy options, educates employees and allows them to make informed decisions on their meal choices. Labeling encourages all patrons to stay informed on nutrition and healthy eating. Product placement is another evidence-based strategy that encourages employees to choose the healthier option. HHH only promotes the healthy choices in their cafeteria; there are no displays for unhealthy meals.
“Hilton Head Hospital has shown great progress toward achieving an overall culture of wellness, serving as one of our Centers of Excellence since early in the initiative,” said Jen Wright, Manager of Working Well. “Morrison, their food service, has been a key partner in implementation and promotion of a healthier food environment. We look for even more exciting things in the near future!”
Wright presented HHH leadership with the Gold Apple award on the afternoon of July 24, 2013.