NewYork-Presbyterian to Phase Out Sugar‑Sweetened Beverages With Healthy Beverage Initiative

Apr 3, 2017

New York

NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations, is phasing out the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages through its new Healthy Beverage Initiative. This change is part of NewYork-Presbyterian’s strategic initiative to promote healthy lifestyles for patients and employees, adding to their current employee health and wellbeing program, NYPBeHealthy.  

“NewYork-Presbyterian is committed to putting patients first in everything we do, including the beverages we provide,” said Dr. Laura Forese, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NewYork-Presbyterian. “We recognize that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages contributes to metabolic diseases and negatively impacts health outcomes. By adopting responsible beverage guidelines across our network, NewYork-Presbyterian aims to lead by example, creating a healthier food environment for our patients, employees and community.”

The initiative will phase out all beverages with an added caloric sweetener which contain more than 25 calories per eight ounces of beverage. It will impact the organization’s retail dining, catering, vending, on-site food vendors and patient foodservice operations. Among those drinks that are not included: unflavored milk/milk substitutes, cranberry juice and 100 percent fruit juice. Additional exceptions pertain to patient food service when clinically applicable.

"Sugary drinks are linked to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “By removing sugary drinks from their vending machines and cafeterias, New York-Presbyterian has taken a bold step to help their patients, visitors, and staff make healthier choices.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, sugar-sweetened beverages have contributed to the obesity epidemic and are also linked with serious chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Nearly half (46.4 percent) of added sugar in American diets comes from beverages.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the prototypical ‘junk food’ with calories but no nutrition,” said Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Sanford I. Weill Professor of Metabolic Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Removing these beverages from our hospitals and practices is a major step forward in improving the health of not just our employees and patients, but our entire New York community.”

In New York’s underserved communities, rates of metabolic disease are particularly high among children. Childhood obesity is known to increase the risk of obesity in adults and can lead to serious health consequences such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. “Though national rates of childhood obesity have plateaued, rates among Latino and Black communities are on the rise,” said Dr. Dodi Meyer, director of community pediatrics at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center. “Therefore, healthcare institutions must look to play a role not only in treatment, but in prevention.”

NewYork-Presbyterian’s Ambulatory Care Network works with the community to prevent obesity as well as educate and promote health and well-being in New York’s inner city populations. The network currently runs robust programs specifically focusing on obesity prevention including the CHALK (Choosing Healthy and Active Lifestyles for Kids) program in Washington Heights reaching more than 8,300 children and families annually.

By implementing this healthy beverage initiative, NewYork-Presbyterian and its regional hospitals join a number of health systems nationwide which have adopted similar policies to promote healthier lifestyles. According to Dr. Aronne, this trend is likely to continue. “In the past, cigarettes were sold to patients in hospitals, in the future selling soda in a hospital will seem just as outdated.”


NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the nation’s most comprehensive healthcare delivery networks, focused on providing innovative and compassionate care to patients in the New York metropolitan area and throughout the globe. In collaboration with two renowned medical school partners, Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, NewYork-Presbyterian is consistently recognized as a leader in medical education, groundbreaking research and clinical innovation.

NewYork-Presbyterian has four major divisions: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is ranked #1 in the New York metropolitan area by U.S. News and World Report and repeatedly named to the magazine’s Honor Roll of best hospitals in the nation; NewYork-Presbyterian Regional Hospital Network is comprised of leading hospitals in and around New York and delivers high-quality care to patients throughout the region; NewYork-Presbyterian Physician Services connects medical experts with patients in their communities; and NewYork-Presbyterian Community and Population Health features the hospital’s ambulatory care network sites and operations, community care initiatives and healthcare quality programs, including NewYork Quality Care, established by NewYork-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell and Columbia.

NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S. Each year, nearly 40,000 NewYork-Presbyterian professionals deliver exceptional care for more than 4 million patient visits.

For more information, visit and find us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Media Contact:

Karen Sodomick 212-821-0560