MAHONING TOWNSHIP -- Geisinger Health System is shortening its name to just Geisinger and come January 1, all Geisinger facilities are cutting sugary drinks.
Sugar-sweetened drinks will not be available in the vending machines, in the cafeterias, or any Geisinger food facility.
“Ironically enough, I'm actually a dental student, so I'm all for it, yeah! I mean I think it's good. Especially from a hospital standpoint to make that initiative. I think it could help people in the long run,” said Tom Huntley-Loehr of Philadelphia. His girlfriend is a student at Geisinger.
"Sugar sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet, which contributes to rising trends of obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, and many other health problems," said Geisinger Guest Services Vice President Bruce Thomas. "This initiative is the first step in turning the ride of the overall health of the communities we care for."
Any beverage sweetened with sugar will be gone, including regular sodas, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, sweetened waters and sweetened milks.
"I know some people will definitely have an issue with it. I think overall it is a good idea to move in that direction, there's plenty of other options,” said Mike Dorbad of Exeter.
Geisinger officials say removing sugar-sweetened beverages is just the latest step they're taking to promote healthy eating.
In 2010, they removed trans-fats from their food system. In 2011, they took the fryers out of all their food facilities.
Last year, they put a sodium cap on certain items on their menus and this year, they introduced antibiotic-free chicken.
"It goes with the policy of Geisinger having wellness programs, getting everyone on campus healthy, so it's cut to cut sugars for everybody else here,” said Dr. Amin Demerdash, a resident at Geisinger near Danville.