Stepping Up to the Plate
The 2009 New York Yankees opened their new ballpark in a fashion befitting their proud history, winning their 40th American League pennant and their 27th World Championship. Their on-the-field stardom was complemented by a good move off the field: the new Yankee Stadium offers the expected ballpark food choices such as garlic fries, hot dogs and deli sandwiches, but in a break with tradition, a seventh inning stretch can include fresh fruit.
Fans who feel threatened by non-lethal eating options at the ballpark need not worry; they can still get barbecued ribs at Camden Yards, Philly cheesesteaks at Citizen’s Bank Park, and crow at Wrigley Field. However, the presence of green fresh food in such places, blasphemous as it might seem, is a sign of the times, and a good one. People are taking more responsibility for their health.
It only makes sense. The calorie count for a basket of Nathan’s cheese fries is almost 1,350. A Budweiser is 290 calories, and a foot-long hot dog sets you back 500 or so. For some people that’s a snack before the bottom of the fifth, and moreover, a financial investment of nearly $25, which, combined with the Yankee ticket prices, ought to give the average guy an ownership share in the team along with indigestion. A nectarine runs about 60 calories and costs $1.50, and they’re available along with several types of apples, pears, bananas, oranges and peaches from old-style wooden pushcarts at Gate 4. By the late innings, they’re sold out. There’s a lesson here for dentists.
Dentists and Diet
So Americans are paying both individually and as a nation to get, live with, and remediate the problems we swallow, and we’re feeling the pain in our wallets as acutely as we do in our legs when we’re walking up the stairs to the cheap seats in the ballpark. We aren’t waiting for more evidence - we want better choices, better information, and better advice now, even when we’re out having fun. As healthcare practitioners, dentists must be seeing the effects of the obesity epidemic close-up. Those of you who see the opportunity here as well as the symptoms can be helpful counselors to your patients. Do you detect anything in my mouth that signals a problem? Can you earn my trust with a few words of encouragement and advice on my overall health and fitness? If we’re looking for fresh food in a ballpark we’re probably looking for fresh thinking anywhere we can find it. The dentist’s office might as well be at the top of the list.
The American Journal of the Medical Sciences explains: “The cost of obesity-related medical care has increased astronomically since 1987, in addition to lost productivity and income. Novel multidisciplinary, preventive, and therapeutic approaches, as well as social changes, are necessary to address the complex interplay of biologic, genetic, and social factors that have created the current obesity epidemic.” That seems obvious to you, perhaps, but being a patient, I’m far more likely to read the sports section than I am to see a scientific journal, and I’ll see the effects of the obesity epidemic on my own waistline before I comprehend the big picture. I need all the novel preventive approaches I can get.
Be My Coach
The mouth is your turf, and it’s where my cholesterol count, my body mass index, and my blood sugar all begin. If I’m a good groundskeeper, I’m healthier, wealthier, and perhaps even wise enough to choose a banana over a cheeseburger. I need you on the team.
On behalf of McKenzie Management, David Clow consults with dental professionals on practice culture, case acceptance, and patient expectations.
David Clow is a writer/consultant for Fortune 100 companies. His book, A Few Words from the Chair, is the first book written by a patient for dental professionals and students and is available here.
Hear David Clow’s FREE podcast – HERE
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