Healthy food cannot be defined by nutritional quality alone. It is the end result of a food system that conserves and renews natural resources, advances social justice and animal welfare, builds community wealth, and fulfills the food and nutrition needs of all eaters now and into the future.
Yet common practices in our modern, industrial food system are creating significant global health and environmental problems
. In the United States, the four leading causes of death—and largest sources of healthcare expenditure—are directly linked to food
: stroke, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Industrial food production, dependent on significant amounts of synthetic pesticides, fossil-fuel based fertilizers, water, and energy, is contributing to climate change and degrading ecosystems by polluting soil, water, and air. The industrial food system’s reliance on production inputs such as antibiotics and growth hormones to compensate for crowded and unsanitary livestock conditions are compromising drug efficacy and placing human and animal health and welfare at risk.
We partner with over 1,000 hospitals across North America to source and serve foods that are produced, processed, and transported in ways that are protective of public and environmental health. Our advocacy work with thousands of health professionals
has resulted in the creation of sustainable food purchasing policies, environmental health curricula, and advocacy for healthy food policy at federal, state and local levels.
Health care institutions around the country have begun to adopt practices and policies to support a healthy food system — one that is environmentally sustainable, improves nutritional quality and supports human dignity and justice.
The Healthy Food in Health Care program advances its work through four core initiatives. We invite you to explore their respective web pages and consider how your facility could best engage with our efforts.