Food and the Small Business Owner

I have read numerous articles regarding obesity in America. There seems to be a strong focus on obesity in the adolescence population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2014), more than one-third (78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese, and as of the latest statistics in 2008, the annual medical costs of obesity are estimated at $147 billion. Six years later, I’m sure the cost has increased exponentially. However, I have not seen any statistics regarding the obesity, and general health, in the sub-segment of the small business owner population.

What are a few of the food obstacles that a small business owner must overcome?

  1. If you work in an office environment, there are snacks available in the office. But are those the healthiest snacks? We usually just pick up snacks that are quick to eat, tastes good and, frankly, are not easily perishable so that we have to run out to buy them every week. Items such as granola bars, pretzel sticks and popcorn has a longer shelf life. When I am maniacally focused on getting out a proposal, I tend to skip lunch and grab a granola bar instead. We do keep lots of water!
  2. Skipping meals is the norm for a small business owner. That also negatively contributes to our obesity rate. I start my day early, particularly when I work from home, and once I start checking emails and getting on conference calls, I look up and it’s already 1pm – I’ve skipped breakfast and lunch. This is not uncommon among my peers. After gaining weight, my doctor told me that my body was holding on to fat because it goes into starvation mode when I skip a meal. I was contributing to my obesity rate by not taking the time to eat. Now, I set an alarm as a reminder.
  3. Healthy restaurant options are not rampant around small business offices. Within a 5-block radius of my office, there are about six fast food restaurants, and only recently, one sit-down restaurant that has healthy and vegetarian options.
  4. The best option, of course, is to bring lunch but we don’t always have or take time to prepare it.

I would love to see more restaurants that are calorie conscious geared towards the small business owner – perhaps offering delivery of special meals. Even if we have fast food restaurants that display calories, we still don’t have much of a choice but to still make the purchase when we are hungry.