“Do you really think what you eat affects your health?”

I was asked this about a week ago while eating lunch in a busy hospital cafeteria. 

I had just expressed the irony of our recent medical rounds: fifty or so physicians were there to hear a talk about the ongoing crisis of diabetes. All of them were eating bagels with jam that had been served on a table at the entrance.
As a physician, I see this all the time. Doctors, who should be role models for health, often eat poorly, get too
little regular exercise and rarely have any “down time”. I suppose it starts in med school. In four years, about 40 minutes of my education focused on nutrition.
So what do you think? Do you think nutrition affects your health? The answer seems obvious, so why then are bagels served at medical conferences on diabetes? Why are french fries served in the hospital cafeteria? And why do people continue to make such poor decisions when it comes to their own health?

We applaud a new coronary care unit that cost billions, and think nothing of the fact that its cafeteria serves french fries and its salad bar isn’t worth speaking of. If healthy habits don’t start here, where will they start?

Medicine has made great advancements, permitting us to live way beyond what was thought possible. But I think we can do even better. People need healers – not medicine focused on technology and diagnostic procedures. What makes more sense: performing four angioplasties a day, or giving a kinesiologist funding to run an exercise program for a thousand people?

We don’t have enough money to do both so the kinesiologist is out of work. Money is found for treatment, yet rarely do we find funds for what really counts in the long run. If people would just eat properly and exercise regularly, the need for angioplasties would drop. And I, for one, would be very happy.

Healthy life. Better life.