Good-bye Sugar Water

Penn Medicine will no longer sell soda, sports drinks and other sugary beverages at its hospital campuses, a move designed to better reflect its mission of care.

All beverages with added sugars will be removed from its cafeterias, snack bars and vending machines within the next several months, Penn Medicine officials announced Wednesday. In addition to sodas and sports drinks, that list includes sweetened milk, tea and coffee.

Flavored water, milk, fruit juice and diet and unsweetened beverages will remain available.

Ralph Muller, chief executive officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, said the policy aims to create "a model environment" for its patients, visitors and staff.

"Our work to prevent and care for patients with chronic conditions impacted by their diets includes educating them on healthy food and beverage choices – lessons which we believe should be mirrored by what we serve in our facilities," Muller said in a statement.

There is one caveat. Third-party vendors, like Starbucks and Freshii, are exempt from the new policy. And patients, visitors and staff will still be able to bring their own drinks.

But the changes will not cease with sugary beverages.


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