Freeman Medical Musings Blog

You Are What You Eat...Sort Of

Posted by Dr. Dennis Estep, MPH, FACOEM, on June 20, 2014

Many have heard the old adage, “You are what you eat,” and perhaps the response, “Then I want to eat a skinny person!” While this is a humorous sentiment, the facts surrounding the joke’s punch line aren’t so funny:

  • 65% of Missourians are overweight, which is consistent with the national average
  • Employers spend an estimated $73.1 billion among full-time employees on healthcare costs
  • Heart attack, diabetes and high blood pressure are health conditions that employers spend the most dollars on and are all directly linked back to obesity

Many people know the basics of proper nutrition: choose lean protein, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and minimize or eliminate consumption of processed foods. The best way to determine the nutritional value of a food is to educate yourself by reading the product’s nutrition label. Reading and understanding nutrition labels can help you make healthy decisions about what and how much to eat.

Freeman OccuMed clinics performed more than 8,000 physicals in 2013. As part of the physical, we spend time educating the patient on the importance of a healthy diet and how that affects his or her overall well-being. In doing so, we hope to play a part in bringing Missouri’s obesity statistic below the national average.

Let’s decode a nutrition label to help you make more informed food choices that contribute to a healthful diet.