A beacon of light in the darkness

On Tuesday, the New York Times Health page giveth. Today came an encore on the Dining and Wine page. Appropriate, since food and health are inexorably intertwined.

The article, “Doctor’s Orders: Eat Well to Be Well” centers on Dr. Preston Maring, a 64-year-old gynecologist, obstetrician and surgeon who has made it his mission to educate his colleagues, near and far, about the importance of healthy food choices.

“Food is at the center of health and illness, he argues, and so doctors must make all aspects of it — growing, buying, cooking, eating — a mainstay of their medical educations, their personal lives and their practices.”

A few different sources in the article point out that a lot of doctors don’t eat healthfully (while it’s hard to find many doctors who smoke, it’s not hard to find many that eat poorly), and these habits generally started while they were stressed, time-crunched medical students. Perhaps not coincidentally, many doctors fail to bring up the issue of weight and health with their overweight or obese patients.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and playing a strong supporting role in this story is Maring’s 30-year-old son, is a fourth-year medical student who hauls convection ovens, cooking implements and ingredients to campus, setting up a temporary kitchen in a student lounge so he can teach his fellow med students how to cook and eat well via a series of cooking classes.

“I also thought it was important for us to walk the walk when it comes to counseling patients about the importance of diet. We get so little training in nutrition that I wanted to provide some basic knowledge.”

Bravo, I say. Bravo.

This all reminds me of the time, a few years ago, when I had to fire my doctor because she told me I was too thin (I wasn’t). I’ll talk about that tomorrow.