Docs need healthier food at work

Less than a generation ago, it was not uncommon for physicians to smoke, even in hospitals and their offices. Today, with the U.S. obesity epidemic at an all-time high and about 44 percent of physicians classified as overweight or obese (according to a 2004 study), experts are calling for a similar disappearance of excess calories in physicians' work environments.

According to researchers from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, the Rand Corp. and UCLA, a typical meal offered to a new resident or at a continuing education event packs 1,280 calories, about double what is needed, along with hefty doses of salt and sugar but no vegetables, a blog post from Philly.com reported.

Previous research has already shown that physicians who are overweight themselves have a hard time counseling patients on how to lose weight. The authors, whose study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, assert that physicians need more support to eat healthfully.

The solution isn't calling on doctors to exercise more will-power than the rest of us, noted Deborah A. Cohen, a Rand obesity researcher and one of the study's coauthors. Rather, medical establishments should press food vendors to serve better food options in healthcare settings, "ensuring that what's available in healthy," the Los Angeles Times reported.

To learn more:
- read the article from the Los Angeles Times
- see the post from Philly.com
- check out the abstract from the JAMA