Soda, sports drinks, fried food released from IU Health hospitals as part of anti-obesity initiative

Juices also being evaluated by nutritionist

INDIANAPOLIS - A focus on health might push pop out of some Indiana hospitals.

IU Health already has a pilot program at University Hospital to remove sugary sodas, in cooperation with Partnership for a Healthier America, a national approach to fight obesity

In cafeterias like IU Health's Riley Hospital for Children sodas are about to go, along with sports drinks.  They're even going to take a look at the juice they offer.

"Obviously, because we're a children's hospital, there's always that. And, so we're working with our nutritionist to evaluate specific juices," said Dr. Jeff Sperring, Riley president and CEO. "The thing that we really know that we're going to be making changes are things like sports drinks and sodas."

Health concerns like obesity are the driving force behind the Partnership for a Healthier America. In the U.S., one in six children and teens between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, and 75 million adults age 20 and older are also obese.

Deep fryers will soon cease to sizzle at the hospitals too.

"Fried food is probably the worst thing for you, along with sugar," said Matthew Titzer, director of nutrition at Riley. "So, yeah I think it's really important. We can do a lot of things that you might deep fry and save a lot of those calories as well with the Rational ovens. They can really crisp things up."

Healthier meals and drinks will also be available at a reasonable price on the menu daily in cafeterias and for patients.

"The main objective is to decrease the calories because, as we know, 65 percent of all Indiana residents are classified as overweight or obese," said Jane Ewing, IU Health executive director of nutrition and dietetics.

Regular sodas will be removed from IU Health Hospitals in the next couple of months. The plan does not include the McDonald's at Riley, because that franchise is run separately.

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