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Making a difference, one meal at a time, Freeman commits to Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY FREEMAN HEALTH SYSTEM

Making a difference, one meal at a time, Freeman commits to Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge

JOPLIN, Mo.—For a third consecutive year, Freeman Health System has signed the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge—a promise to improve the community’s well-being through food policy change. Part of the national Healthy Food in Healthcare Initiative developed by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Health Care Without Harm, this pledge outlines Freeman’s commitment to increase its offering of fruits and vegetables; to work with local farmers and food suppliers to improve the availability of fresh, locally produced food; and to educate the community about nutritious food practices.

In 2010, Freeman became the first hospital in the state to sign the Healthy Food in Healthcare pledge.

“By signing the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge yet again, Freeman has further solidified our commitment to serving local, nutritious, and sustainable food,” said Paula Baker, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer. “The availability of fresh foods is one of the greatest barriers to improving health. By increasing our offerings of fresh produce, we hope to promote lifestyle changes that will have lasting effects in our community.”

According to Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, 20 percent of southwest Missouri residents are in fair or poor health and 26 percent have activity limitations. Ninety-two percent eat fewer than five servings of fruits or vegetables per day, and 35 percent are obese.

Since originally signing the pledge in December 2010, Freeman has increased the amount of fresh, locally, and regionally grown foods served within the health system. Seasonal farmers markets were established at each of the system’s three campuses to make fresh produce available to the community.

In addition, Freeman meals were aligned with United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines and feature right-size food portions. The purchase of broilers, steamers, and additional salad bars maximize nutritious food options such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Also, cafeteria displays with menu item nutrition information help patients, employees, and visitors make informed dietary decisions.


Photo Caption: Paula Baker, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer, recently signed the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge. This is the third consecutive year Freeman has signed the pledge, which is a promise to improve the community’s well-being through food policy change. In the front row, left to right, are Cathy Brown, Freeman Grant Coordinator; Baker; and Pam Luechtefeld, Regional Director of Operations for Morrison Healthcare. In the back row, left to right, are Andrea McGrew, Freeman Clinical Nutrition Manager; Jay Johnson, Freeman Executive Chef; Jennifer Bunce, Freeman Retail Manager; and Chris Stauffer, Freeman Patient Services Manager.

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