Latrobe Regional Hospital bolsters its healthy eating efforts

Wednesday 15 July, 2020

Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) is the largest workplace in southern Victoria to receive Victorian Government recognition for its healthy eating efforts in the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program.


The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program is a free Victorian Government health and wellbeing program delivered by Cancer Council Victoria. There are more than 1,000 workplaces across Victoria currently signed up to the program and making healthy changes! 


Workplaces that join are supported to achieve targets that address key health areas including healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol and other drugs. Once the targets for each health area are achieved, workplaces can receive Victorian Government recognition.


LRH has been a member of the Program since 2013 and has achieved recognition for three health areas including physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, and most recently healthy eating.


Chief executive at LRH, Peter Craighead, admitted some of the changes such as a new cafeteria menu were initially a challenge for staff.


“As one of the largest employers in the area, with about 2,000 employees, our healthy eating program has been a major step forward in supporting the wellbeing of our staff as well as setting an example for our community. It took a little while to get used to, but I’m pleased staff made the switch from hot chips to a healthy sandwich or salad,” Mr Craighead said.


In a bid to implement meaningful changes, LRH used the free help at hand by drawing on the expertise of the health promotion team at Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS) and the Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS).


Public health nutritionist at LCHS, Laura Duff, states that a key focus has been on implementing the Victorian Government’s Healthy Choices Guidelines across two onsite cafes, vending machines and the catering menu.


“To boost healthy eating, we introduced a traffic light system which colour codes food and drink options based on their overall nutritional value, with green being a healthy option, amber moderate and red an unhealthy option. As a result, we’ve seen a 42% increase in green options and a 27% decrease in red options on display in the cafés,” Ms Duff said. 


The new initiative has been welcomed by staff, with one staff member stating that after 17 years working at the hospital she has, for the first time, made a purchase at the café and is glad to see more healthy options available and promoted.


Program manager at HEAS, Margaret Rozman, believes the new, healthier options in cafés, vending machines and catering will be greatly appreciated and accepted by all staff and visitors.


“LRH has implemented the Victorian Government’s Healthy Choices Guidelines in a sustainable way, by bringing the whole organisation and local community along for the journey,” Ms Rozman said.


Head of the Achievement Program, Tope Adepoyibi, said another pivotal component has been the clear and encouraging communication provided to staff members and the community via newsletters, email updates, and healthy eating workshops and events.


“I am impressed by the new healthy practices such as displaying posters with nutritional information, embedding a new approach for fundraising and the active involvement in community initiatives like the Try for Five campaign,” Ms Adepoyibi said.


Mr Craighead said in addition to healthy eating and a smoke-free environment at LRH, staff and the community are enjoying a new walking track around the hospital precinct.


“It’s great to see staff, including the management team, walking around the track during their break. Not only is this a social and physical activity, but a great boost to mental health,” Mr Craighead said.



Media contact

Alexandra Wilson: