Commons Health Hospital Challenge Details


The challenge is aimed at beginning a conversation and sense of agency with citizens and their communities in the development of healthcare model that extends beyond the walls of hospitals and which begins with the health of people, their communities and their planet.


What does the Challenge Include?


The Challenge includes three initial components. These are:


  • The Elimination of Hospital Sugary Beverage Sales

  • Adoption of the World Health Organization Baby Friendly  Hospital Guidelines

  • A Measureable Commitment to Source and Serve Local, Sustainable Food


Hospital facilities that adopt any one or more of these components will be publically recognized. 

Detailed explanation of the challenge is provided here


Sugary Beverage Sales Phase out 


Hospitals must adopt a policy which ends the sale of sugar beverages (within one year of policy adoption) and provision to patients unless medically required. This policy must include:


    • Food and Nutrition Services: Dining Rooms, Cafés, Cafeterias, vending, and patient meals. 

    • Any onsite food court vendors.


Sugar-sweetened beverages are defined as any drink that contains added sugar. Added sugars can be from natural sources (such as white sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave nectar) or man-made sweeteners (such as high fructose corn syrup). 

Examples of sugar-sweetened beverages are:
  • regular sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks

  • sweetened iced teas, coffees, lemonades, and punches

  • fruit or vegetable drinks that are not 100% juice

  • flavored waters containing calories


Water, seltzers,unsweetened coffee and teas, all milks, soymilk beverages, 100% fruit and vegetable juices are all viable alternatives.


For an example see this Dartmouth Hitchcock hospital policy.

For a Minnesota Example see For a Minnesota Example see Grand Itasca Policy

Baby Friendly Hospital Guidelines


Hospitals must have entered the D2: Development Phase with Baby Friendly USA (made a commitment to the process and receive a comprehensive set of tools to assist in implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding) or already be a Baby Friendly Hospital (which certifies that a hospital follows the 10 point Baby Friendly guidelines).

Local, Sustainable Food Commitment


Hospital must commit to a 20% local or sustainable food and beverage purchasing dollars commitment by 2020. Local foods are defined as from farms, ranches, and production/processing facilities located within a 200 mile (or less) radius of the facility (within Northeast Minnesota support of the Superior Compact, a 20% by 2020 purchasing goal meets the intent of this Challenge). Sustainable foods are defined by the Green Guide for Healthcare criteria of third party certified label. Hospitals must report at minimum every two years on their percentage purchasing progress. 


Note: For processed foods with multiple ingredients, including breads and other bakery items, only products with the majority of ingredients (>50% by weight) produced within the radius may be included in the calculation.