The present paper reports on a quality improvement activity examining implementation of A Better Choice Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Health Facilities (A Better Choice). A Better Choice is a policy to increase supply and promotion of healthy foods and drinks and decrease supply and promotion of energy-dense, nutrient-poor choices in all food supply areas including food outlets, staff dining rooms, vending machines, tea trolleys, coffee carts, leased premises, catering, fundraising, promotion and advertising.
An online survey targeted 278 facility managers to collect self-reported quantitative and qualitative data. Telephone interviews were sought concurrently with the twenty-five A Better Choice district contact officers to gather qualitative information.
Public sector-owned and -operated health facilities in Queensland, Australia.
One hundred and thirty-four facility managers and twenty-four district contact officers participated with response rates of 48·2 % and 96·0 %, respectively.
Of facility managers, 78·4 % reported implementation of more than half of the A Better Choice requirements including 24·6 % who reported full strategy implementation. Reported implementation was highest in food outlets, staff dining rooms, tea trolleys, coffee carts, internal catering and drink vending machines. Reported implementation was more problematic in snack vending machines, external catering, leased premises and fundraising.
Despite methodological challenges, the study suggests that policy approaches to improve the food and drink supply can be implemented successfully in public-sector health facilities, although results can be limited in some areas. A Better Choice may provide a model for improving food supply in other health and workplace settings.
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