I recently visited a friend who works at Google and was pleasantly surprised by the Bay-area tech giant’s health-promotion efforts. Its crowded cafeteria offered mostly healthy food, with low-fat, low-carb, and high-fiber delicacies. Any dietitian would have appreciated the plethora of organic dairy products, the salad servers filled with balsamic vinegar instead of the usual ranch dressing, and the bounty of nuts in the salad bar — all a sign of care and attention to healthy behaviors.
Concern about physical activity was evident, too. Employees were given bikes to use around the office grounds and for transportation to and from work. There were nap boards, gymnasiums, and organic vegetable farms on campus, providing relaxation, recreation, and exercise within the workplace. Not surprisingly, employees in casual dress appeared relaxed, and the vast majority were lean and healthy. That such a health-promotion effort is made by a corporation that stands far outside the field of medicine is truly laudable.
On the contrary, in hospital cafeterias, overweight and obese staff stand in long lines for entrees like mac-n-cheese and chicken wings. White coats run away from the salad bar, fearful of outbreaks of enteroviral infections from unhygienic handling of raw food. They also skip meals daily or even more frequently, sustaining themselves on chips and sodas from vending machines.