Health and Economic Benefits from Hospital Investment in a Sustainable Food System

Making the business case for sustainably-produced food as a cornerstone for health means understanding that investments in a sustainable food system is crucial to improving the health of patients and staff within hospital walls as well as supporting food access in the surrounding community.

This brief reveals four ways that investments in a sustainable food system may reduce disease burden as well as financially benefit individual hospitals and health systems.

(1) Provision of healthier food offerings in cafeterias to improve employee productivity.

(2) Investment in the local food system may be implemented under the community benefit standard to reduce poverty and prevent or treat diet-related disease.

(3) Improvement of patient access to healthy food after leaving the facility may reduce readmission rates and their associated costs by helping patients maintain a better diet.

(4) Procurement of sustainably-produced foods to reduce the health risks to vulnerable populations that are most likely to be uninsured or underinsured.