"Culture shock" expected as Malta's hospital phases out unhealthy food

Malta's struggle against high obesity rates has led the Mater Dei Hospital -- the country's largest -- to ban sugary fare, but even such a modest step could irritate the Maltese.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
"Culture shock" expected as Malta's hospital phases out unhealthy food - NewsMavens
Pastizzi, WikiCommons

Why this story matters:

Year after year, Malta tops the list of the EU's most obese societies, with two in five children affected by obesity.

Researchers call the social environment "obesogenic" and alarmingly unhealthy, with urban design ill-suited for walking and cycling, as well as huge price gaps between healthy and unhealthy food.

Overall, Malta may have to tackle the monetary aspect of the issue before seeing real change -- in many institutions, such as university canteens, healthy food can be five times as expensive as unhealthy snacks.

Details from the story:

  • Suppliers to Mater Dei hospital have been given a deadline until June 1, 2019 to eliminate sugary and greasy products.
  • Among them are creamy, fried, mayonaise-covered and highly processed foods, including the traditional fast food pies -- pastizzi.
  • Sugary water, soft drinks and high-fat milk will also be removed from the food supply at the hospital.
  • On the other hand, pizzas, sandwiches and Maltese bread with fillings will still be allowed.
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