Manteo, NC – The Outer Banks Hospital is taking important steps to offer healthier foods to employees and visitors including portion guidelines, healthy lifestyle education and employee incentives as part of a statewide initiative: NC Prevention Partners’ (NCPP).

“Because promoting health is central to our mission, it was clear to us that we wanted to make it easier for our employees and visitors to lead healthier lifestyles,” said Van Smith, President of The Outer Banks Hospital.

The project is outlined by five core Guidelines: Access, Pricing, Marketing, Employee Benefits and Education that all aim to make it easier for hospital employees and visitors to eat healthy.

Kathy Tate, Director of Nutritional Services explained that The Outer Banks Hospital is using pricing to help promote the delicious and healthy choices. “An employee can get a filling, tasty and very affordable lunch for under 500 calories. For us, it’s all about the food. We try to make new and delicious dishes for our customers, responding to what they want. Everyone wants to eat healthier, we just make those options taste better, and make them easier to find.”

The Outer Banks Hospital is not alone in promoting a healthy food environment. NC Prevention Partners (NCPP), a statewide leader in reducing preventable illness and early death, works with hospitals across the state to provide healthy, affordable food options in the cafeteria, vending machines and wherever food is sold or provided on campus. This project is funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment in a partnership with the NC Hospital Association.

Through the grant, NCPP works with hospitals in North Carolina on a five point plan to improve their healthy food options. Anne Thornhill, MPH, a senior health promotion manager at NCPP, is the program lead. “Healthy foods are in North Carolina hospitals’ future,” Thornhill said. “Since NC hospitals are leading the nation in going tobacco-free, our goal is for all hospitals to be doing more to ensure people who want healthy options can get them. With more than 500,000 meals served to employees and visitors in NC hospitals each week, it’s critical that hospitals have a big-picture plan. More than half of the hospitals in the state are actively promoting a Healthy Food Environment, putting NC on the map as a national leader in obesity prevention.”

The Outer Banks Hospital is a 21 bed acute care facility offering the latest in healthcare advances and technology, including the best in emergency, surgery, birthing, imaging, diagnostic, therapeutic services and inpatient care. A not-for-profit critical access hospital, The Outer Banks Hospital is a partnership between University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. The mission of The Outer Banks Hospital is to enhance the quality of life for the residents and visitors of Dare County and the surrounding region by promoting wellness and providing the highest quality healthcare services.

PHOTO: Proudly accepting NC Prevention Partner’s Red Apple Award for making it easier for hospital employees and visitors to eat healthy are (L-R): Joshua Naser, hospital chef; Kathy Tate, director of nutritional Services; Karla Croyle, registered dietician; and David Bulla, hospital chef.