Saturday, September 11, 2010

How about a cheeseburger for stroke awareness?




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For various reasons this has been a CRAZY week at my office, and I'm still trying to catch up. So while I'm attacking the giant Pileofdictations Monster, I'm putting up this gripe sent in by Stacey, who's a radiology tech. At least that's what she says. For all I know she's another yak herder in the next valley over from me.

I was walking over to the fitness center on campus today when I was accosted by 3 women at a little sidewalk booth.

They were having a bake sale to raise money and awareness for heart disease. One women piped up as I walked by...she asked me if I would buy something to support their cause.

They were selling cupcakes, BIG cookies, thick slices of chocolate cake, and pastries. To raise money to fight heart disease. And they wanted me to support this fight by contributing to my own vascular risk.

I lost it. I said "Are you kidding me? Obesity is a major cause of heart disease! Don't you think that maybe, just maybe, you should be selling something healthy? Maybe you should try selling something healthy to promote heart health, awareness and raise money at the same time".

They all looked at me like I'd just bitten the head off a puppy and spit it on the sidewalk.

Finally one of them said "Well, we have oatmeal raisin cookies... they're kinda healthy..."

33 comments:

NurseW said...

I am an RN on a telemetry unit, and we recently had a bake sale to raise money for the American Heart Association too... I though about pointing out the irony, but decided to just bake some darn cupcakes. I do want to be seen as a "team player" who "contributes to the culture of the unit", don't I? :)

Kim said...

I have spent a bit of time at a certain teaching hospital in North Carolina. This hospital used to (not sure when they got rid of it, but it was within the last few years) have a Wendy's restaurant right inside the hospital. I believe it was on the 3rd floor. I used to eat there between appointments for my son, and it was ALWAYS packed. I found it very funny.

Ellen said...

The problem is, if you want to raise money for your cause, you have to sell things people will buy. Impulse buying being what it is, cakes and cookies seem to do the job best.

I understand the sentiment, but honestly? How much money do you think they'd raise selling low-fat cottage cheese?

The Mother said...

This is no joke:

My kids' high school just banned all bake sales, because of the "unhealthy" items. No cookies, muffins, anything.

Have no idea how the GSA is going to fund itself this year, since last year almost all of its money came from my pantry and frig.

lbparker said...

Yeah, they'd have LOTS of customers for celery sticks and sliced carrots. . .

mcgee said...

I use the gym at the local hospital's wellness/rehab center. There's a little cafe down the hall that does all the baking for the hospital. They make--from scratch-- these amzing, monster caramel and cinnamon rolls, smothered in gooey icing. They come out of the oven right about the time I'm wrapping up my work out. The aroma permeates the whole floor...there's no escaping it. I try to avoid walking past the cafe, but I am weak, lol. And those rolls are soooooo goooood...

Anonymous said...

My med school's hospital has a Wendy's fast food store in it. The McDonalds is not too far. Most of our meetings that have free food, serve pizza.

Anonymous said...

We have a lot of grammar police, now we have a cookie and cupcake police.Not every one who eats sweets gets overweight nor has heart diease Unless these sellers were forcefeeding people,I think your comments were out of place.

Anonymous said...

This wasn't funny, this was outright rude. Especially if these women were not medical professionals. They were trying to do something good in a way they felt would be effective, even if it was misguided. They put time and effort into their sale and Stacey was rude and abrasive. She could have politely explained that maybe a bake sale with such large portions wasn't the best idea for a complication that stems from things such as being overweight, and maybe a craft sale would be a better option, but no. She chose to be rude and just plain mean.

I certainly hope she's kinder to patients that come through her radiology department.

Anonymous said...

It is possible to make things you can eat, which are both tasty and healty, and if it was close to the fitness centre, what about smoothies/milkshakes/other things with mashed-up fruit?
After working their butt off people would be slurping them down quicker than you can say heart decease.

Anonymous said...

On tour a couple years ago in central Europe...we just had to stop at a pastry shop in every city...Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, Prague...where the specialty is a torte of some sort, but the thing is, that they're not super sweet, nor outrageously large pieces. One might have their cake and eat it, too, if it's not a large slice of fluffy calories and plenty of walking is involved!

Kim said...

Hahha! mcgee, I used to go to a gym that was a bit different. It had all the typical gym stuff, treadmills, weights, etc. Right next to the treadmills they had a bar. No kidding. While I was working out on the treadmill, I had people sitting at the bar right next to me eating wings and drinking beer. It was the weirdest gym I have ever belonged to.

Anonymous said...

I used to do DIABETES research at the huge public/teaching hospital in Atlanta... The entrance is attached by a walkway to McDonalds. When over 60% of the patient population has DM and over 80% is obese, you'd think they would rethink this. Nothing Iike waiting for a patient to finish their 2 Big Macs and then bringing them back to talk about their lab values and lifestyle habits. "But how could my blood pressure POSSIBLY be 180/100?"

CrownedwithVictory said...

Oh, Mother, the schools will come up with some evil plan to make money. They tried to get my kids (ages 6 & 8) to sell coupon books for 25 dollars each. 25 dollars!

Arzt4Empfaenger said...

Haha, the irony and the last sentence is what makes this anecdote funny, Anon(s), don't take yourselve(s) soo seriously!

Well, at least the ladies tried. It might not have been the smartest choice - but then again, I agree that selling celery sticks wouldn't have made such a good business. Maybe handpainted postcards would have been safer, but for all I know, it sounds like these ladies were good at baking, not necessarily painting. ;-)

Thanks for sharing the story, and good luck fighting the paperwork monster!

Not Nurse Ratched said...

Seriously. I went to a cardiology conference once and the supplied foods were potato chips, pizza, and ham/cheese sandwiches. Not a fruit or vegetable in sight. Really?

Anonymous said...

ARTZ4 Don't take ourselves so seriously? Why not? Stacy did.

Erin said...

Really, a doctor's blog is the last place I would expect to see correlation mistaken for causation. (There may be correlation between fat people and heart disease - it does not follow that fat causes heart disease.) Fat people can be healthy, and skinny people can be unhealthy, and you can't tell by looking at them. I realize that this is not Dr Grumpy's anecdote but he is reposting it on his blog and perpetuating the myth that fat somehow causes illness. Correlation =/= causation.

me said...

For National Nurses Day one year, 'Manglement' gave every nurse in the hospital coupons for 3 fast food joints.
When our head heart surgeon found out about it, he went ballistic! He stormed into the CEO's office and reamed him a new one...

But I do agree that S. was rude to the bake sale ladies... It could have been handled much better.

Ben S said...

Most people don't think. I for one have no problem with pointing out contradictions in peoples' actions, especially regarding risk assessment (how many parents are more afraid of kidnappers than vehicular collisions?).

Looking forward to Dragonisms!

a.generic doc said...

So, for stroke awareness, would you suggest they sell Red Bull along with the cakes and cookies?

outre said...

Both sides need to be responsible... Selling baked goods is a cop out. It's an easy way to help for a cause. You know when holding one you can sucker people by tickling their impulses, but you still do it.

I was a fundraising chair for a student org. and bake sales hardly brought in anything, regardless of how great the cause is, and never ever worth it if you add up the time people spent baking the items for sale. Anyway, that's my jaded opinion, I never wanted to do them, but majority won...

If anyone ever finds themselves in a situation where they HAVE to contribute to a bake sale and want to contribute a star item, try fruit... chocolate covered. They sell well and look far better next to the box-mix goods.
The profit margin per item is smaller though, esp if you use chocolate with high % of cacao.

Ben S said...

No more home-made goods, didn't you get the memo?

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/no-brownies-at-bake-sales-but-doritos-may-be-o-k/

C said...

Supply and demand folks, supply and demand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Erin!! I get sick of seeing this assumption perpetuated over and over again.

Seriously, people, you should check out Junk Food Science. You especially, Stacy.

Jeff said...

Hey Stacey, you need a big cup of "shut the **** up."

Don't want a cookie or sweet treat? Don't buy one. But don't climb up on your high horse, either, said horse's name being, of course, "Holier Than Thou."

Anonymous said...

As a woman who loves chocolate but who's been bombarded with healthy eating ideals in this day and age, I completely agree. And personally, I'd much rather buy 'healthy' baked goods over obviously fat laden ones- surely doing that sort of thing would be a winner, especially with the anti-heart disease fundraising marketing.

Moose said...

Bad doctor, no cookie! Weight has no actual relation to causing heart disease. Heart disease is more likely to come from a variety of things. Genetics is the #1 risk factor: if your parents have heart disease you probably will, too. Diabetes and other diseases can contribute, but it is not a done deal. And obesity does not cause diabetes, that's just marketing hype that doctors have picked up and been repeating like parrots. Weight gain and difficulty with weight loss are long [60+ yrs] known to be a *symptom* of type II diabetes, not the cause!

A lot of research is coming out to show that things like cholesterol are not always related to heart disease-- especially in women. I've read stuff published by the Canadian health system saying that women should not be aggressively treated for cholesterol issues because their studies are showing that women's cholesterol levels have no correlation to heart disease or whether they'll get or survive a heart attack or a stroke. Only recently are these studies starting to be done on women.

Obesity can exacerbate some conditions, but it is rarely the cause of the diseases and conditions it is usually blamed for. Weight and quality of health can be two independent things.

j said...

Hah, one time the Von's had a guy outside selling hotdogs at a grill for testicular cancer. I was like, "are you kidding? Ahahaha"

This of course spawned a discussion of other "theme foods" for various cancers: bean dishes for kidney cancer, cantaloupes for breast cancer, tortillas for skin cancer, and how meatballs would have been a more appropriate sale item for testicular cancer.

Later on, they could have had "fried chicken day" for the avian flu, then maybe pork chops for the swine flu etc.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm just being anal about it, but I really think if you're going to challenge a commonly held belief you should point to actual research rather than "so an so said" as some commentors have. But hey, all I am is another anonymous commentor and what do I know?

GKK said...

Indeed, seems a bit forward to berate the bake-sale ladies.

It is odd how people associate baked sweets with all manner of social events, including fundraising ones. It's not just that celery sticks are not going to sell. People actually laugh at me for bringing bags of oranges when it's my turn to bring a 'treat' for the meeting. And then have quietly thanked me after for bringing something 'healthy.' I figure it's not that oranges are funny, but that it's just another example of me doing social things a little bit wrong. The offerings at bake sales are not dictated by some fact that makes people buy cookies and pastries on impulse and refuse carrots, it's just a cultural thing.

Whole fruit, paper cups of fruit salad, a bunch of berries and fruit slices on a kebab-skewer served with a little cup of yoghurt to dip it in, dates cut open and stuffed with nut butter, agua fresca drinks like jamaica and horchata and the lightly sweetened ones you make from whatever fruit's around all go over just fine and actually seem to excite people more since they are novelties when brownies were expected.

R. May said...

Hmm and here I thought the most common nutritionist stand-point on healthy eating/lifestyle is all things in moderation?

Sorry Stacy but the reason they looked at you like you killed a puppy because you were rude. You could have donated without buying and gently explained why. Or not and explained why again, gently. The bake sale ladies responded with more class then I could've summoned. It would have been a cute little ha-ha juxtaposition story if you hadn't berated some poor strangers.

Anonymous said...

It's ok as long as it's a *bran* puppy!

(hey! I'm catching up on my reading!)

 
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