July 6, 2005
Eileen Shields, Public Information Officer,
San Francisco General Hospital Launches New Healthy Options at Cafeteria
Program to Help Staff, Patients and Visitors Stay “Energy Balanced”
San Francisco, CA—It’s a frustration that happens hundreds of times each
day. A tired and worried patron pushes a tray along the cafeteria line
at San Francisco General Hospital, musing, “What do I want to eat? What
should I eat? The grilled chicken sandwich looks good. But is it good
for me? ….trying to watch my calories and stay away from so much salt….”
What if there were a sign on the food that said, “Pick me! I have less
than 500 calories, I’m low in saturated fat and easy on the sodium.”?
On Tuesday, July 7th, that is precisely what will begin happening at San
Francisco General Hospital cafeteria. “Energy Balance”—a new labeling
program designed to help visitors, patients and staff make informed
choices at the cafeteria line—will make its debut with great fanfare and
a cast of Public Health cheerleaders and sponsors. The main goal of the
campaign is to provide cafeteria patrons with information that will help
them make informed dietary choices by providing labels on all of the
food items that answer the following questions: “How many calories, how
much saturated fat and how much sodium are contained in the cafeteria
Cafeteria selections that contain less than 500 calories, 7 % saturated
fat and 1,000 mg of sodium will be awarded an “Energy Balance” logo. By
using this information in combination with education on balancing
calorie consumption and exercise, cafeteria patrons have a good
foundation to build on a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their
families at work and at home.
Rebecca Hoffman, a Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Consultant, worked for four months with cafeteria staff and SFGH
administration to create and design the City’s first point of selection
food labeling program that health officials hope will be duplicated
throughout the City. One of the surprising findings of Ms. Hoffman’s
research revealed that many medical students and residents eat three or
more meals every day at the hospital’s cafeteria. Visitors whose family
or loved ones are hospitalized also consume many of their meals at the
cafeteria. “We want people to begin to think of food intake in the same
way they approach a checkbook,” Ms. Hoffman explained. “You consume a
number of calories each day and, depending on your needs and activity
level, you also burn calories. The goal is to have the numbers coming in
match the numbers going out if you want to maintain your present weight.
Just as over-spending results in an empty checkbook, overeating will
result in a weight gain. It’s all about balance.”
The Energy Balance kick off event is scheduled for July 7, from 11 a.m.
– 1 p.m. A special program is planned for 12:15 p.m. at the San
Francisco General Hospital Cafeteria, Second Floor, 1001 Potrero Avenue.
Ms. Hoffman will be joined by Dr. Mitch Katz, Director of Health and Dr.
Donald Abrams, Chief, Hematology – Oncology and Professor of Clinical
Medicine at SFGH.