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Work and Health

Hide the Doritos! Here comes HR

With work running the Biggest Loser contest, I found this article very interesting.  My work does not offer free food very often, so there’s not a whole lot they’d be able to do.  However, there are a few things that I find ironic.

 First of all, though I freely admit I’m a geek, I work for a fairly large meat processing plant.  The company I work for makes thinly sliced/Philly style steaks and beef patties, but they also make fully cooked meatloaf, cooked beef, pork and chicken, uncooked beef, pork and chicken — all with or without soy, and with or without breading — cooked and uncooked salisbury steaks, oh yea and partially fried breaded beef, pork and chicken, some of this even with cheese.  So anyone else see the irony in the company offering a Biggest Loser contest?  Though they may advertise items that have no trans fat, not all of these items are low in fat. 

 Second, on Tuesday, we’re going to have a “First Annual” hot dog eating contest.  Everyone at the building I work at is invited, as long as someone in their department is participating in the contest.  That’s really healthy, huh? 

 That’s not counting when my department (which includes the dietitians) has a pot luck, which generally happens once a month, for birthdays and/or holidays.  Though there’s usually salad or other healthy food, there’s always some sort of sweets too.  Cake, cheesecake, pie.  That’s conducive to losing weight, isn’t it?

 At work, we have a cafeteria where we can get our lunches or snacks.  About 2 years ago, the dietitians tried to get healthier food into the cafeteria.  Unfortunately, there were mixed results.  The cafeteria kept making too many changes, so the dietitians couldn’t give nutrition information for the healthier menu items.  The healthier menu items didn’t always go over well.  They still do offer one “healthier” menu item every day, but I’m never sure how healthy these items are even if they are listed as healthy on the menu. 

Then again, I’ve noticed that I have a more rigid idea of what is healthy than even the dietitians.  I guess reading the book SuperfoodsRX changed my opinion on a lot of things.  Well, that and reading posts by a girl on eDiets, she aimed for at least 10 servings of superfoods a day, and had energy at 40 that I envied at 34.

Does this mean I think the companies are doing the right thing offering the lower fat and healthier fare?  Well that depends.  Are they cracking down on people bringing their own (unhealthy) food?  Then, as much as I understand how much this helps with insurance costs, that’s restricting someone’s freedom. 

 On the other hand, offering incentives and lower insurance rates if someone loses weight, to me, that leaves the choice to them.  We do pay more in medical costs with the way that America’s weight has gone up.  The incidence of obesity related diseases has at least doubled in the last 20 years.  I’m not talking just heart disease and stroke risks.  My father was thin and had a several strokes.  My sister is thin and has had to have an operation to put stents in her arteries near her heart.  Heart disease and stroke may be related to bad diet (and smoking), even though type 2 diabetes may be more prevalent in those who are overweight or even obese, I’m talking about things like fractures in the heel bones from bearing all the weight over the years, or knee problems caused by the same.  What about when women have back pain from the extra weight in their breasts from being too heavy? 

 Of course, the food and drug companies are making a lot of money off this.  The more food people eat, the fatter they get, the more these companies get to earn money off our weight problems.  But the insurance companies and doctors are also earning money off this.  The sicker we are, the more we go visit them, the more we pay, and ’round and ’round it goes. 

The solution?  Take advantage of anything your company offers to help you lose weight.  Yea, it seems silly to be so focused on your weight, especially if you’re not worried about how you look, but if you want to live longer, you need to take care of yourself.  Exercise, & eat right, even add in more fruits and vegetables.  We may be getting mixed signals, but no one has ever said fruit and vegetables are unhealthy.

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