Too far? I don’t think so

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!

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6 Responses to Too far? I don’t think so

  1. Dad says:

    Kinda like the new look. As for your editorial you are absolutely right on and I am so very proud of you and the stand you are taking. Leading by example is critical in any venue. The Navy even going back to my years in recruiting has had a habit of “do as I say, not as I do” Taking a stand in the hospital cafeteria is one of those small steps that can turn into a giant step. Your command if doing the sailors and civilians a great service by not offering bad choises in the galley. The speed like is an institution. We had them in ’68-’70 during my first tour and I am sure they are just as popular today as they were then. Keep up the good work.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      Thank you so much-I hope you realize how much that means to me.

      The head of the galley is a dietician, and I really respect his stance on the topic. I can only imagine the push-back he is going to receive, but how can he as a professional do anything else? I’m hoping people are pleasantly surprised by how good “real food” tastes!

  2. Finally common sense prevails! Our cafe at work is run by a large corporation called SODEXHO. They added the nutritional information to their website and it was just unbelievable. Many of their entrees contain 40 to 60 grams of fat. Many employees eat there every day of the week. I can only imagine the cumulative effect of health related claims this will have years down the road on our self insured medical plan. Our company also subsidizes the cafe in order to be able to keep them on site. We made several requests last year to try to get them to subsidize our Weight Watchers at Work program with no luck. I guess it will turn out a matter of pay now or pay later.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      One of the most frustrating aspects of working in health promotion is the short-sightedness of many individuals/companies/government entities when it comes to preventing illness instead of treating. Return on investment is very difficult to quantify when you are looking at health promotion interventions, so people aren’t willing to spend the money because they aren’t sure it will be “worth it” in the long run. I think we have become a society that is entirely too dependent on numbers and data if we can’t trust in the logic of some of these initiatives. Thanks for the post Beth!

  3. Kels says:

    I totally agree that it is the RESPONSIBILITY of the facility to remove those super unhealthy foods; it’s so hypocritical!

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