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Healthy Hospital Environments

Photo: Hospital workers

Hospitals are employers and providers of health care and serve more than 6.3 million employees and 481 million patients each year. Hospitals reach a large population of employees, patients and visitors and can have an impact on neighboring communities. This makes them an important setting for obesity prevention efforts.

Hospitals can create policies and environments to encourage healthier food and beverage choices, increase physical activity, and support breastfeeding/lactation.

CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) promotes improvements in hospital environments with partners across the country to ensure that the healthier choice is the easier choice. DNPAO has developed tools to assist hospitals in conducting food, beverage, and physical activity environment assessments for prioritizing and implementing change.


CDC has funded Prevention Partners to develop a Wellness Change Tool for hospitals seeking to improve their environments. This tool addresses food, beverage, physical activity, breastfeeding/lactation, and tobacco environments. Information from this tool is used to create a national map showing progress and wellness data from engaged hospitals. Learn more at: The Prevention Partner’s WorkHealthy America Interactive Maps.

Success Stories

The Healthy Hospital Practice to Practice (P2P) Series presents case studies of hospitals that have improved their environments to better support the health of their employees and communities and the mission of their organizations. Topics covered in the P2P series include the following:

  • Nutrition—providing healthier food and beverage options.
  • Physical activity—providing opportunities for physical activity.
  • Breastfeeding and lactation support.
  • Tobacco-free spaces.
  • Hospitals partnering with public health for environment change.
  • Hospitals partnering at the hospital association level in environment change.
  • Community benefits—promoting healthier options in communities, schools, and early care and education settings.

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