The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Credit: Madison Valerio

Students and staff members looking for a sugary drinks while working in Penn Medicine buildings will soon need to go elsewhere to fulfill their cravings. Over the next few months, Penn Medicine will stop serving sugary drinks in its cafes and vending machines and replace them with diet or sugar-free options. 

The initiative, which was announced this month, was launched in an effort to promote healthy eating and reduce the risk of health related illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. 

According to Philly Mag, Penn Medicine "will become the first health system in Philadelphia to eliminate sugary drinks."

Credit: Greg Boyek

Ralph Muller, chief executive officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System said in a statement that Penn Medicine must create a “model environment” for patients.

“Our work to prevent and care for patients with chronic conditions impacted by their diets includes educating them on healthy food and beverage choices — lessons which we believe should be mirrored by what we serve in our facilities,” Muller stated. 

However, the Penn Medicine statement clarified that third-party vendors on Penn Medicine facilities, like Starbucks, will continue to serve any drinks they choose.  

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sugary beverages are "leading sources of added sugar" in the diets of American citizens, which are closely associated with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Philly Mag also reported that residents of Philadelphia experience some of the nation's highest rates of diet-related chronic diseases.  

Penn Medicine's new policy comes amid ongoing controversy about the soda tax in Philadelphia, which imposed a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks starting in 2017. The tax, which some argue is unconstitutional, just survived a review by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.