Workplace cafeterias should focus on offering healthier food options to ensure employee wellness

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

These healthier options can be transformed to make them more appealing

New Delhi, 22 January 2019: A new study has indicated that offering more healthful meals at work could be a promising opportunity to improve wellness among employees. This comes in the light of the fact that about a quarter of working adults obtain food and beverages at the workplace at least once a week. However, often these foods are high in calories, added sugars, refined grains, and sodium. Employers can offer appealing and healthy options in cafeterias, vending machines, and at meetings and social events.

Obesity and low dietary quality are important risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The foods analysed in the study were either purchased from worksite vending machines or cafeterias, or obtained for free in common areas, during meetings, or at worksite social events.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Indians have a tendency of gaining more fat around the abdomen, which can lead to insulin resistance. One of the primary reasons for this is the lifestyle people lead today. On-the-go and fast-paced lives mean people skip their breakfast and end up eating unhealthy, quick-fix meals through the remainder of a day. People who are obese should aim at limiting the intake of complex carbohydrates as they tend to increase blood sugar levels and the production of insulin. In those with insulin resistance, this surge can lead to further weight gain. Apart from this, aim at getting about 30 to 45 minutes of physical activity every day, five times a week. People with a sedentary job profile should be particularly careful.”

Simply educating people about fruits and vegetables and reminding them to eat their recommended daily intake may not be enough in ensuring the wider population reaps the psychological benefits. Perhaps greater emphasis needs to be placed on providing people with these products (stocking more fruits and vegetables in dorms, cafeterias, workplaces, substituting fruit for dessert, and offering free fruit for people when they shop).

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The taste buds are only on the tip and side of the tongue. If you gulp food, the brain will not get signals. Eating small pieces and chewing them properly also sends the signals through the taste buds. The size of the fullness of the stomach also decides how much one can eat. The brain gets signal only when the stomach is 100% full. Therefore, one should not overeat and full the stomach to its size. Also, if you eat less, over a period of time, the size of the stomach will shrink.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly
  • Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid oversized portions which can cause weight gain.
  • At least half of your grains should be whole grains.
  • Limit consumption of food high in trans fats and sugar.
  • Choose healthy fats. Use fat-free or low-fat milk and/or dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.
  • Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.

Man loses leg to superbug after routine knee operation: Superbug infection should be part of the consent process

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A 68-year-old British man has had his right leg amputated in November last year after contracting a superbug infection following what should have been a routine knee replacement. He is one of a growing number of NHS patients for whom common operations are going horribly wrong because of the rise of antibiotic resistance, reported The Telegraph (Jan. 18, 2019). Doctors battled to fight the infection over the course of six years and a series of follow-up operations but without success. His medical notes show a series of infections set in, including the superbugs – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Enterobacter cloacae.  He received a wide range of antibiotics and endured three follow-up knee replacements but the infections could not be killed off. Surgeons even tried an artificial knee coated in silver, a metal known for its anti-bacterial properties.

The rise in global consumption of antibiotics has led to the emergence of new “superbugs”.

What makes them dangerous is the fact that they are multidrug-resistant. Some examples are: Acinetobacter, pseudomonas, Klebsiella pneumoniae, E.coli, Serratia, Proteus, Mycobacterium abscessus, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and various enterobacteriaceae.

Superbugs have been reported from all parts of the world, including India. In a recent study reported this month, all oxygen cylinders tested were found to be colonized with the superbug MRSA.

Prima facie, such cases may appear sporadic; but, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

Superbugs have now acquired a global presence and emphasize the need for urgent action to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

While health care-associated infections should be preventable, the reality is that they are inevitable. Hence, patients should be informed of the chances of infection, including resistant infection/s at the time of admission.

Superbug infection should be part of the consent process, just as antibiotic consent should be a part of the informed consent process so that the patient is aware of the benefits and risks of antibiotics.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania   (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA