Captain D’s, Popeye’s, Church’s Chicken, Knockout Wings, Paul’s Market, and Nothing But Wings. To most, these restaurants sound like a quick way to satisfy the rare craving for a greasy meal, but for many, these dining options are part of their staple diet.n 2013, the obesity rate in Tennessee was 31.3% which ranked #7 in the country for highest rates of obesity. The lack of healthy food options in lower socioeconomic areas is by far the leading contributor to the high rates of obesity in these communities. Of course there are lots of healthy eating options in our community, with some food chains making a conscious effort to promote health awareness, however, many of these options, by way of price and location, do not target lower socioeconomic status populations.
As medical professionals we have two profound responsibilities. The first it is be effective teachers. We must educate our patients on the benefits of healthy eating habits in order to avoid serious chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Prevention is the key and must be at the forefront of our practice of medicine. Our second responsibility is to advocate on the behalf of our patients. We must identify any roadblocks that may impede healthy practices for our patients, and provide sustainable solutions for these challenges. In this respect, we must become socially aware, involved, and proponents of our communities.
I encourage everyone to examine the handicaps facing our own patient populations and combine efforts to create an organic dialogue to help identify practical solutions. Good food is the beginning of preventive care!