Weight Loss News and Current Events - Fla. doc fired over 'doughnuts equal death' sign




murphmitch
08-14-2009, 07:58 PM
Saw this in the news today:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090813/ap_on_re_us/us_doughnut_doctor

I can't believe the Florida Health Department would fire a physician for speaking out against the junk that our society is overridden with. I say more power to him. That's exactly the kind of message healthcare professionals need to get out there, without worrying about stepping on someone's toes.


Jennelle
08-14-2009, 08:02 PM
I agree with you, but I have a feeling that they were more worried about possible copyright infringement with the whole flip on "America Runs on Dunkin"

kaplods
08-14-2009, 08:18 PM
Yeah, I think it was fear of a slander suit from Dunkin' Donuts, rather than the underlying anti-junkfood message.

It was actually a bit of a bonehead move to name any fastfood chain by name.


Thighs Be Gone
08-14-2009, 08:38 PM
My hubby and I were just discussing the Dunkin' slogan the other day. We both agree it's a horrible one. I totally agree with the doctor.

JulieJ08
08-14-2009, 10:01 PM
I think a lot of advertising really is horribly irresponsible and unethical. I refuse to not hold businesses responsible for their choices. There *is* a human being somewhere making those choices.

I heard an ad for McDonald's yesterday, promoting having breakfast there Every. Single. Day. Just ridiculous.

murphmitch
08-14-2009, 10:10 PM
From the article:

"He angered staff members by barring doughnuts from department meetings and announcing he would throw the fat-laden sweets away if he saw them in the break room. He also banned candy bars in the vending machines, putting in peanuts instead."

I wish they would do this where I work. I am a hospital nurse and we have a McDonald's of all things in a heart hospital! And don't get me started on the food in the cafeteria and what we serve our patients.

helwa588
08-16-2009, 02:32 AM
i do think it was extreme to fire the doctor. however i am of the opinion that it's not the donut that is so bad it's how much of it you eat. now me personal i have to stay away from sugar because my blood sugar rises quickly (even fruit makes me blood sugar rise). but if someone decides to have a donut say once of month to treat themselves it's not necessarily bad. but if it's eaten in excess then yes.

kaplods
08-16-2009, 03:28 AM
I'm thinking it's not just one specific issue that got this guy fired. Anyone who plays food cop by throwing away coworkers food is someone who "doesn't play well with others."

Banning candy from vending machines? Not the worst thing in the world, but if you're already overweight, peanuts aren't necessarily much of an improvement over candy.

I think mostly though, self-righteousness really leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. Making choices for himself, expressing his opinions... that's a lot different than dictating other people's choices and throwing away their food without permission.

A person can do a lot of harm by doing good in a nasty way.

Ija
08-16-2009, 10:55 AM
I didn't get the impression that he threatened to throw out the employee's lunches or anything like that, only donuts and other junk that were purchased (presumably) with department funds for meetings and the like, though I could be wrong.

While I dislike the authoritarian approach myself (Toby Cosgrove pulled some stunts like this at the Cleveland Clinic while I worked there years ago) I think it's important to consider that none of us have a right to be supplied with a cache of donuts at every business meeting or have vending machines stocked with Snickers bars in every hallway. It amazes me sometimes how we've come to expect and demand easy access to junk food at all times and rise up with righteous indignation when our favorite treats aren't supplied.

harrismm
08-16-2009, 12:32 PM
Ija.....cheers!!!!

kiramira
08-16-2009, 12:44 PM
Why is it that on one hand, we talk about cleaning up our dietary environments and making good food choices and trying really really hard, yet get irate when someone stops spending departmental money on crap so that you can make good choices that will let you succeed?

Isn't it a bit hypocritical to complain on one hand that the government/society/obesity-promoting environments are preventing one from losing weight, while complaining equally loudly that one's rights to junk food are being infringed upon by "the man"???

I don't get it...

Kira

murphmitch
08-16-2009, 02:41 PM
While I dislike the authoritarian approach myself (Toby Cosgrove pulled some stunts like this at the Cleveland Clinic while I worked there years ago) I think it's important to consider that none of us have a right to be supplied with a cache of donuts at every business meeting or have vending machines stocked with Snickers bars in every hallway. It amazes me sometimes how we've come to expect and demand easy access to junk food at all times and rise up with righteous indignation when our favorite treats aren't supplied.

You gotta start somewhere, I guess. It's the Health Department, for heaven's sake. If you don't walk the walk, how can you expect anyone to take you seriously? I applaud this guy's thinking. With obesity, diabetes and other chronic problems related to them reaching epidemic proportions, you need strong leaders to set the example and you might as well start by some housecleaning in your own workplace. If he was being a **** about what people brought in their own lunches, that's a different matter, but I don't think the workplace (the health dept) needs to reinforce bad eating habits.

kaplods
08-17-2009, 12:45 AM
I mostly agree, but the article said he angered staff (so I'm wondering what he did to tick people off). I also did not assume that departmental money was being used. Even when I worked in a corporate environment, staff meeting donuts were rarely paid for by corporate funds unless it was a huge multi-department function, and even then there would be quite a few healthy options on the table. There'd be donuts, as well as bagels and muffins (which could a lot worse than donuts if you didn't share them, considering the size of some of these), but there would also be huge bowls of fresh fruit, which I really appreciated because I generally don't "do" donuts. I haven't eaten donuts in the morning, or any high carb or "sweet" breakfast item like pancakes since I was 12 years old, and first made the connection that sweet breakfasts make me queasy and sick afterward.

In all the places I've worked, for regular staff meetings and the break rooms, any food item brought in was paid for out of someone's private pocket (so that's what I was assuming in this case). The supervisor holding the meeting might buy them, or someone just "being nice" would bring in the food. While I didn't always appreciate other people's choices, I figured that the food choice belonged to whoever had decided to bring it in/buy it. When it was MY turn (and often when it wasn't), I brought in things to share that I could and wanted to eat.

I do think that in this case the "how" may have been a lot more important than the why. He was angering people and just didn't care. No "sorry, I understand why you may not like this, but I feel it's important." That he is quoted in the article speaking about military experience and bluntness is probably more telling of the real reason behind the firing - a lack of diplomacy.

I think that's what's written between the lines, it wasn't his message, but his delivery. Railing against fast food, and eliminating from the workplace (given the nature of this workplace) is one thing, but targeting one food and one business in particular - it's just poor diplomacy (and inaccurate). Donuts may have been a symbol to him of all that is wrong with our culture's food choices - but blaming donuts and only donuts, is a bit twisted. Blaming it all on donut shops in general and Dunkin' Donuts in particular, is missing the bigger, and more accurate point.

Even substituting peanuts for candy! There weren't healthier options for the vending machines than peanuts? Something a little lower in fat and sodium, perhaps?

I think there's a lot more to this story than has been reported.

Ija
08-17-2009, 09:01 AM
Regardless of how the donuts were paid for and whether or not he stepped on any toes, I still believe that he was absolutely right to declare, no donuts in my meeting! It wouldn't surprise me if the only thing he did to 'tick people off' was refuse to supply them with junk food throughout their work day. Nowadays, if you take away the Reece's cups somebody will probably get hurt :dizzy:

midwife
08-17-2009, 10:17 AM
What I got out of the article is that there was pressure from donut shop owners...who were also lawyers and the County Commissioner. Politics and business versus "zealot" truth in nutrition....hmmmm....why am I not surprised by the outcome here?

And murph, a McDonald's at a heart hospital? Oh, the irony....why is it lost on the decision-makers?

kaplods
08-17-2009, 10:40 AM
To quote one of the longer versions of the article:

Although he personally disagreed with Newsom on many issues during his two and a half year tenure, Bay County Commissioner Mike Thomas says he wrote the letter to protect the county from a possible lawsuit.

"I think he was somewhat of a zealot," County Commissioner Mike Thomas said. "I don't have a problem with him pushing an agenda, it's the way he did it. People borrowed money to go into business and they are being attacked by the government."


"The only thing I felt was inappropriate was when he was used specific names you can talk about donuts and fried chicken, cold beer and cigarettes, but when you mention names you and you do it with tax payers money that's stepping over the line," says Thomas.

________________________

I think this is the real issue. The county very well could have been sued (and successfully) for libel and slander. That he was asked to stop naming businesses by name (apparently promised to, according to some articles) and then continued to do so, was the "bottom line" issue.

I'm not sure that accusing a specific fast food chain of killing people by means of specific food items can truthfully be called "truth in nutrition."

A fit and healthy person is not going to die from eating one donu, and this is what the franchise attorneys will argue - along with the argument that the business lost revenue because of the doctor's statements (which fall under slander and libel laws if the doctor's words are even slightly untrue - exageration is as good as an outright lie in this case).

The doctor had the responsibility to keep "names" out of it. By naming the fast food providers he did arm their guns for them on the argument of libel/slander.

TJFitnessDiva
08-17-2009, 10:41 AM
What I got out of the article is that there was pressure from donut shop owners...who were also lawyers and the County Commissioner. Politics and business versus "zealot" truth in nutrition....hmmmm....why am I not surprised by the outcome here?

That what I got out of it too....I guess they were *that* intimidated by this doctor to force him out.

Ija
08-17-2009, 10:54 AM
That what I got out of it too....I guess they were *that* intimidated by this doctor to force him out.

The food lobby is incredibly powerful, unfortunately. Guys like Newsom don't stand a chance.

JulieJ08
08-17-2009, 11:06 AM
Um, yeah, "America Runs on Dunkin'," is not about one donut, but whatever. We know exactly what they mean in their advertisements, and they will still successfully claim they did not mean excess.