Healthy Eating Initiatives
Making Healthy Food Choices a Matter of Policy
TMC Healthy Eating Initiatives utilize diet and food-labeling systems to address the Texas Medical Center’s high overweight and obesity (O2) rate. The program was developed following a survey of 780 TMC employees that revealed 78 percent are overweight or obese. All 59 TMC institutions are involved in a two-year program, which has the potential to influence regulations related to food packaging, menu listings, school cafeterias and more.
The program’s intervention components, which aim to reduce TMC’s overweight and obesity rate by 20 percent by the year 2020, include:
- Traffic light labeling on vending machine snacks, designating food as “healthiest” (green), “moderate consumption” (yellow) and “slow down” (red)
- Traffic light labeling for cafeteria foods
- Two evidence-based national diet programs, Weight Watchers and IDiet
Outcomes are being tracked, measured and compared across a population that is extraordinarily diverse in age, ethnicity, occupation—even cultural attitudes toward food. As a result, TMC O2 could become a valuable health improvement model for medical institutions and employers nationwide.