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WHAT'S COOKING, DOC?: Doctors Aren't What You'd Call Health Nuts When It Comes to Their Own Dietary Habits

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A thick, juicy steak? It's just what the doctor ordered - not for his patients, actually, but for his own dinner. Sudler & Hennessey, the Young & Rubicam division that specializes in healthcare and pharmaceuticals advertising, recently commissioned a nationwide survey of family doctors and general practitioners to assess their eating habits. (The study's catchy acronym is WADE, which stands for What Are Doctors Eating?) 'Our doctors love pasta, and overwhelmingly reject fish in favor of red meat and chicken,' reports a summary of the survey results. Are they at least getting their green vegetables along with those slabs of meat? Not enough of them. 'Only 20% say they eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.' Perhaps as a consequence of their carnivorous tendencies, '55% of the nation's doctors are overweight. Of that group, 71% say they are overweight by more than 10 pounds.' But they are repenting - or some are, anyway.
'In the past two to three years, nearly two-thirds of doctors have increased consumption of green salad and whole grains (63% and 61%, respectively), while a significant minority (36%) have increased their intake of beans.' Doctors who stick to a healthier diet are more likely to counsel their patients about diet and nutrition, the survey finds. And, one assumes, such advice carries more weight coming from a doctor who carries less weight. So (food marketers take note), if the nation's doctors do turn toward healthier diets, consumers will be getting more of the low-fat gospel when they go in for their check-ups.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)