In an effort that started on Monday, Geisinger has eliminated sugar-sweetened beverages from all of its campuses.

Geisinger said in a news release Wednesday that this is part of its efforts to promote health and wellness. Geisinger owns Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill.

Items that fall into this category include soda, sugar-added fruit juices, sugar-sweetened teas, sugar-added energy drinks, bottled sugar-added iced coffee drinks and flavored milks (chocolate and strawberry).

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet, and play a significant role in the country’s obesity epidemic,” said Andrea Feinberg, medical director of Geisinger’s Health and Wellness Program. “These drinks also can increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and gout. By eliminating SSBs, we can create wellness opportunities and improve the overall health of our communities.”

Visitors to Geisinger locations will instead have other options, including diet and zero calorie soda, 100 percent fruit juice, diet and unsweetened teas, zero calorie Powerade and Vitaminwater, regular and decaffeinated coffee, all types of unflavored milk and water, including zero calorie flavored waters.

“As a health care organization, our goal is to provide the best care to our patients, employees, members and visitors,” said Bruce Thomas, vice president of Geisinger’s Guest Services. “Geisinger serves more than 6 million meals a year. By offering healthy food and beverage options, we have a tremendous opportunity to positively impact the health and well-being of our entire community.”

In 2008, Geisinger began its Healthy Selections program and has continued to make changes to its menu by eliminating trans fats and fried food, limiting sodium and serving local produce.

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