Although I work at the Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center, we are physically located in Naval Medical Center Portsmouth so I occasionally eat in their galley (that’s the cafeteria for my non-Navy friends). You may be able to imagine my dismay when I would go to buy my lunch and see just how long the “speed line” would get. As most speed lines are the same, I’m sure your familiar-burgers, fries, chicken wings-anything with grease and/or cheese. Basically it’s a speed line to the cardiac clinic. Therefore I was thrilled, and actually very proud, when they made the decision to kill of it. That’s right-the staff made the decision to hold a “Death of the Speed Line” celebration on Halloween to commemorate the move towards healthier options to be offered in the future. No more high fat foods will be sold. They even went so far as to place the names of some of the most common speed line food items on tombstones to memorialize their death-pretty clever if you ask me.
There are of course those who are not as excited as I am. They believe it’s intrusive, and the hospital does not have the right to make those decisions for them. I’m going to pause a moment here to gather myself before I make a few points. Okay, I’ve counted to 10 and think I can type not all in caps now. NMCP is a hospital. They promote health. It’s their job. I was more angry when they were sending the hypocritical, mixed messages by telling people their diets were a main cause of their medical problems and then turning around and serving them up a hearty portion of chili cheese dogs, heavy on the cheese. The galley staff did not go to people’s home and dictate what they could eat there. They didn’t even take away the Taco Bell and KFC that are in the food court. They basically just made a very clear statement that they are going to support the hospital efforts to create a healthier population. Do they have the right to do this? To me, this question is absurd. According to the CDC, in 2008 the estimated national medical care costs of obesity were approximately $147 billion. As a medical treatment facility facing continuously rising healthcare costs-healthcare the majority of the beneficiaries receive FOR FREE-I think they not only have the right to try to cut back on these costs, but I believe they have a responsibility to do so.
This is something I am extremely passionate about, and therefore know I can be a little narrow-minded. So what is your opinion? Was the galley staff within their rights? Take the poll to let us know your thoughts!