As I have pointed out again (usually in the context of soda and snacks), if you serve it, we will eat it, even if "we" are a bunch of medical or diet professionals.
But what if you serve a healthier fare? And what if you give people a little push to that end?
A recent study attempted to investigate this and before 3 conferences, random participants were given one of the following two options to consider their lunch options.
Group 1 (this was the non-vegetarian default issue): A vegetarian buffet for lunch will be served at the conference. Please state here if you would like to prepare a vegetarian dish for you: __________________________________.
Group 2 (this was the default vegetarian question): A vegetarian buffet lunch will be served at the conference. Please indicate here if you would like a non-vegetarian dish prepared for you: __________________________________.
You know what happened next.
At all 3 conferences, those marked as the default meal choice were selected by the vast majority for lunch.
At the first conference, the vegetarian selection increased from 2% to 87%. At the second conference it increased from 6% to 86%. And it increased from 12.5% to 89% at the third conference.
Do you know what would have definitely led to even greater numbers? There are no options for non-vegetarians. And to be clear, I do not suggest that vegetarian foods are panacea, there are many unhealthy vegetarian foods, but this simple study illustrates the power conferred on conference organizers in terms of what is served and how it is presented to attendees. The same will of course apply to any place where meals and / or snacks are presented.
As we eat what serves us, it seems to me to be a mere expectation, at least for medical and dieting conferences, that we are served healthy choices.
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