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A student and staff collaborative audit exploring the food and drinks available from a dental teaching hospital outlet


Introduction NHS England's Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) standard 1b sets targets for food and drinks high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) that should be sold in hospitals.

Aims To assess the products that were available in a dental hospital food outlet and to explore the cost and placement of HFSS products.

Design and setting A prospective audit of the food outlet in a dental hospital in London, UK carried out by staff and students in May 2018 benchmarked against CQUIN 1b.

Materials and methods Staff and students collected data on food and drinks that were available over a two-week period.

Results Only cold and hot drinks met the CQUIN target that 80% of drinks should contain less than five grams of sugar/100 ml. A third of packaged biscuits and 50% of cakes and pastries contained more than 250 kcal per portion. HFSS products were visible in front of customers at the checkout till. Packaged fruits were more expensive than packaged biscuits.

Discussion and conclusion This audit showed inconsistencies between the food and drinks available for staff, students and patients at a dental hospital and the healthy eating messages that staff and students relay to support patients' oral health.

Key points

  • Dental hospitals are important out-of-home food environments that should encourage healthy eating.

  • Dental hospitals should offer food and drink options that are consistent with evidence-based dietary guidelines.

  • Dental hospitals should work with food outlets to create 'tooth-friendly' food environments for staff, students and patients.

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Nirmalan Patkunan and Meera Galaiya who, in addition to the authors, helped to collect the data for the audit.

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Correspondence to Vanessa Muirhead.

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Mohindra, A., Jie, J., Lim, L. et al. A student and staff collaborative audit exploring the food and drinks available from a dental teaching hospital outlet. Br Dent J 230, 32–38 (2021).

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