About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When Counting Calories Goes Too Far

A few weeks ago, we lauded Kaiser Permanente for adding calorie information and nutrition information to its hospital cafeteria menus, assuming that more information about the food we eat is always a good thing. A recent article in Newsweek, however, questions that notion.

It's common knowledge that the eating habits of college students aren't always ideal--pizza for breakfast (and lunch and dinner) comes to mind. To combat the "freshman fifteen," some colleges have started adding calorie information to menus at their cafeterias; after all, 30 percent of college students are overweight or obese, according to the Newsweek article. The problem is, some experts worry that colleges' efforts could lead to eating disorders, "even among students with no history of food issues."

Already under stress and faced with all-you-can-eat cafeterias on campus, some psychologists argue that college freshmen are already at risk for weight gain--and adding undue pressure to avoid the "freshman fifteen" could trigger disordered eating for some students.

The Newsweek article provides an interesting take on a topic that's all too familiar to wellness professionals. We know that nutrition is more than a number; true wellness means making positive lifestyle changes for the long term, not just counting calories.

So what do you think? Do the benefits outweigh the risks in this case, or do the experts have a point? Are we doing more harm than good by overemphasizing diet? I'd love to hear your views.

No comments: