Should hospital vending machines stock healthier food?

Most mums give birth in hospitals (the home birth rate for the UK averages about 2 per cent*); most of us will spend a night in hospital with our little ones, and some of us have to spend longer.

And we’re bound to get hungry – especially after labour, right!? A chocolate just isn’t going to do it!

Not sure if you’ve heard about the whole vending machine debate going on but there is a movement to try and get healthy snacks into vending machines in hospitals (never mind hospital canteens). It does seem a great irony that there are currently no national guidelines on the health content of food and drinks sold in vending machines in UK hospitals. Sugar isn’t a great promoter of general health… and all.

Scotland and Wales have guidelines – 30 per cent of food in vending machines must be a ‘healthier choice’ food (whatever that means) and must be prominently displayed.

I had my first child in middle of the night and there was no food for me to gobble after my exertion – not that I expect a rump steak or anything but it’d have been nice if there had been some cereal bars, dried fruit… a fruit juice – something like that – that my hubby could have acquired from a vending machine.

I wanted him to stay with me and his new baby, not go out searching for an elusive snack item in the early hours of the morning.

And what if you’re visiting a hospital with your kids and want a snack for them – something that’s not chocolate?

Maybe we’d choose a chocolate over raisins anyway (who knows?) but that’s not the point; the health option should be there and in fact, should be the dominating snack in the machines.

What do you think? Should hospitals be required to stock healthy snack options in vending machines?

*Statistical information: The Home Birth Company

Source: BBC.co.uk – “Call for rules on hospital vending machines in England”