Courtesy of Palomar Health
Courtesy of Palomar Health

A North County hospital was recognized this week for its efforts to educate the public about eating healthy.

Palomar Health received a certificate of recognition from San Diego County Supervisor Dave Robert for its commitment to educate patients and residents on how to eat a more nutritious and varied plant-based diet to preserve and enhance their health.

Programs such as Meatless Mondays have been implemented at all Palomar Health cafes to help teach visitors simple ways to make better dietary decisions. The hospital also participates in the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, a national campaign that urges hospitals to improve the health of patients and staff by serving healthy, fresh and sustainable foods and beverages while reducing waste and energy use.

“At Palomar Health, we are part of a wave of health care leaders who are shaping a food system that supports prevention-based practices,” says Barbara Hamilton, Palomar Health sustainability manager. “I am excited that we have taken our programs to the next level by decreasing our overall meat consumption and increasing the consumption of sustainable, local and organic produce with our new plant-based menus. It’s an honor to be recognized for our hard work and dedication.”

Approximately 33 percent of adults in San Diego County are overweight and 26 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who are obese are at increased risk of developing many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and various types of cancer.

“When we buy local and regional fresh food and provide these options on the table or the patient’s tray, it’s not only a better nutritional value, but it tastes better, too,” says Jim Metzer, director of hospitality services at Palomar Health. “It’s one sustainable and flavorful way we can help support a healthier community.”