Free Fruit On Offer At Portland District Health

Janice Bayne - Acute NUM & Fiona Heenan-Director of Primary & Aged Care Services
Friday, 22 July 2016
Portland District Health is setting a healthy example for the community with a new initiative to offer free fruit to patients, staff, volunteers and visitors.

The fruit will be available in North and South wards, in the PDH Consulting Suite and the staff dining room.

The initiative follows the introduction of a traffic light system to identify healthy food options at the café and the phasing out of sugary drinks over the next two years.

CEO Chris Giles said providing fruit would make it easy to choose when people wanted a snack. The big bowl of fruit in the kitchen has been an Aussie tradition and I want to extend that to the workplace.

We want to help people to make the best choices by promoting a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruit, Ms Giles said.

By having a variety of fruit readily available at PDH we are setting the scene for more people to include it in their diets.”

The project is being monitored by the PDH Nutrition Steering Group and is part of the Green Light for Healthy Drink Consumption at Portland District Health action plan.

PDH health promotion team leader Lindy Stuchbery said providing fruit was a proactive initiative to set a good example for the community.

If people see healthy options such as fruit, especially if it is cut, they are more likely to eat it as their first choice, Ms Stuchbery said.

There is clear evidence about the amount of sugar in processed food and how that contributes to obesity, she said. On the other hand, fruit and vegetables improve children's nutrition, help prevent obesity and may boost school performance.

Ms Stuchbery said most children don't get the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Children's growing bodies require good nutrition, and fruits and vegetables contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals and other healthy compounds, she said.

Fruits and vegetables are high in filling fibre, but low in fat and calories. Encouraging kids to eat fruits and vegetables instead of sugary snacks and fat-laden fast food can help children avoid obesity.

High-fibre foods, such as fruits and vegetables, also help the digestive system to function properly.

Ms Stuchbery said studies showed that children with healthy diets, including high consumption of fruits and vegetables, performed better on academic tests than children who consumed fewer fruits and vegetables.

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