The Partnership for a Healthier America, which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier, recognized MaineHealth with the Healthier Future Award Nov. 3.

Nearly 10 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. have joined PHA's Hospital Healthier Food Initiative. As one of the first hospital systems to join in October 2012, MaineHealth has delivered healthier options for patients, visitors and employees eating at 10 of its member or affiliate facilities across the state. Through this partnership, MaineHealth has worked to:

Offer daily wellness meals that meet nutrition standards and are priced less than or equal to other available meal options;

Increase healthier options in the checkout area by displaying only health-promoting food options within five feet of cash register stations;

Label menu items with calories per serving;

Remove all fryers and most deep fat-fried products;

Ensure that fruits and vegetables account for at least 10 percent of total food purchased by the hospital;

Increase the percentage of better-for-you beverages purchased by the hospital;

MaineHealth has provided access to a wider variety of nutritious choices for more than 12,000 pediatric patients moving in and out of its hospitals, as well as more than 173,000 adult patients and nearly 13,000 employees.

MaineHealth member or affiliated hospitals involved in the initiative included, among others, LincolnHealth, Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital.