Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healthy Choices

Last week, I was stopped by some visitors asking why we serve unhealthy food options in our cafeteria. Later in the conversation they asked if I had considered adding a McDonald's or another fast food restaurant to increase revenue for the hospital...quite a contrast in requests.

The week before, we had a an employee celebration and served hot dogs and hamburgers. When I mentioned this at home, my son asked me why we were serving this to our employees. "Don't you care about your employees' health? You serving hot dogs and hamburgers is like the dentist serving candy." Quite a profound statement (if I do say so myself).

It is interesting to note that the majority of food purchased in our cafeteria and many restaurants are not healthy choices. Over the past 2 years, we have added substantial healthy options including vegetarian dishes, low calorie and high protein breakfast sandwiches, improved salad bar, soups and more. Yet, in a lot of ways, I agree with the concerns expressed above. In my blog entry from September 1, 2009, I made the following statement:

Though some causes of illness and injury are beyond our ability to completely control or manage, there is still much each of us can do to optimize our health and minimize costly interactions with the healthcare system. The improved lifestyle choices we each make every day can, collectively, have an enormous impact on the cost of healthcare in this country. It’s easy to dismiss such a claim – “Who cares if I supersize my fries, or if I spend another 30 minutes on the couch watching TV instead of taking a walk? It’s my life and my health, after all. And it’s not like what I do or don’t do is going to make or break the entire healthcare system.”

Recently, I sponsored a five-member team competing in the Fittest Executives Challenge this fall through Ingram's Magazine. Certainly, we will do our part to walk the talk. Our team includes executive members of St. Joseph Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center. In the spirit of friendly competition, I extended a personal challenge to area hospitals executives, medical staffs and the healthcare community in Kansas City to get involved in the Fittest Execs and Fittest Companies Challenge. We will put the talents of our Chef, Karen Putman, the winner of the 2009 Great Lenexa BBQ Battle on the line, rolling out dinner—our treat—for the hospital or healthcare team that shows the greatest overall improvement and the team that ranks most fit in health metrics when the competition ends January 15th, 2010. For more information on the challenge (and to sign up if you want to form a team) go here.

While we cannot control the food choices people make, we certainly are pleased that we have added some healthy options for our newly renovated Café Josef. I am interested in your thoughts on other healthy options we could add to our Café and other ways which your organization promotes health.

No comments:

Post a Comment