A scheme encouraging healthy eating was launched last night at a hospital after two restaurants were rewarded for their outstanding service.
The Heartbeat Awards scheme, a national initiative run locally by Bedford Borough Council, Bedford Hospital and NHS Bedfordshire, got underway at Bedford Hospital’s Swannery Restaurant yesterday.
The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, gave recognition to the first two recipients, Borough Hall and Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, for their restaurants The Swannery Restaurant and Le Bistro.
One of the key objectives of the project is to ensure that establishments offer and provide healthy food options.
This allows customers to have a choice of food, which is nutritious, wholesome and healthy.
As such, the menus of the establishments are assessed in detail by trained staff and regular visits are subsequently made to the establishments to ensure these standards are maintained.
Cllr Sarah-Jayne Holland, portfolio holder for community and regulatory services, said: “People have a right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption. This award sets a firm foundation for ensuring both healthier menus and high hygiene standards.”
Bedford Hospital NHS Trust chief dietitian Gill Shinkwin, added: “The number of people who are seriously overweight is rising, and their weight has a major impact on their quality of life - adding to their risk of serious diseases, such as bowel or breast cancer, heart disease and joint problems.
“By supporting the Heartbeat Award we can encourage staff and the public to make healthier food choices and help them in managing their weight.” The UK has one of the highest rates of heart disease and the most rapidly increasing rates of obesity in Europe.
According to recent figures, around 23 per cent of adults in Bedford Borough are obese which equals approximately 27,000 people.
For premises to be eligible for a Heartbeat Award they must have received a hygiene rating of between three and five.
For more information on the Heartbeat Awards, and details on how to apply, contact NHS Bedfordshire on 01525 636864 or Bedford Borough Council on 01234 718099.