How Layout Change in a Hospital Cafeteria Reduced Soda Consumption– Role of Environment in Changing and Sustaining Habits

How does one home in Hungary became a Chess powerhouse with all three girls performing exceedingly well in that sport?

What are the chances of ‘you’ gaining weight if most of your friends are obese, even if they don’t even live in the same city?

How a café inside a hospital increased water consumption by just changing one thing?

Human beings are a creature of habits and habits play a major role in deciding what we achieve in our life. 

We all strive to build good habits, fail, try again, fail again and the loop continue till we change our routines or the existing routines get the better of us.

If I decide to eat healthy and every time, I open the fridge and see chocolates and packaged fast food, unhealthy snacks etc.– what will I eat?

Obviously, I will eat what’s in front of me.

Keeping fruits in the chiller where they are not even visible and soda/snacks next to the door, ensure we always pick up what we see (and should avoid), instead of what we should eat.

So, the next time, you wish to eat more fruits and less snack, better keep the healthier options within your grasp, at a place where they are easy to reach, while making access to unhealthy foods as difficult as possible.

Laying hands on them should require efforts, which ultimately will help in reducing our craving for them, when seen from a long-term perspective.

Coming back to Question 1

Laszlo Polgar convinced Klara to marry her and they decided to create chess champions at home as they shifted to Hungary.  The couple were blessed with three daughters – Susan, Sofia and Judit.

Susan started playing at 4 years of age and within six months, she was defeating even adults.

Sofia became a world champion at 14 and a grand master after a few years.

Judit – By 5 defeated her father, at 12 became the youngest player to break into top 100 players and at 15 years and 4 months, became the youngest Grandmaster.  She also continued as the No.1 ranked female chess player in the world for 27 long years.

When someone asked them reasons for their success, they also attributed it to the environment at home as everyone would eat, breathe and talk chess all the time. 

One more important thing was Chess is also regarded very highly in Hungary, so their accomplishments were not revered only at home but in the entire country (a much bigger environment).

Question-2

What are the chances of you gaining weight if most of your friends are obese, even if they don’t even live in the same city?

According to a study published in New England Journal of Medicine, if you have friends who are obese, the likelihood of you also gaining weight is 57% higher, even of these friends live 1000’s of kms away. 

Other people play an equally important role in ensuring we stick to our good habits as we all experience social pressure to some extent.

Question-3

How a café inside a hospital increased water consumption by just changing one thing?

The café inside Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston decided to change the layout of the cafeteria to increase water consumption.

Refrigerator stuffed only with soda were filled with water bottles as well and water bottles were placed next to the food stations across the room.

Within the next 3 months, sales of soda in the cafeteria reduced by 11.4% while for bottled water increased by 25.8%.

All this was done without any educational campaign to reduce soda consumption or an exhortation to drink more water.

Just a change in the layout or environment was instrumental in affecting the drinking habits of staff and customers in the cafeteria.

So, what kind of an environment are you living in?

Does it support the habits you wish to develop for yourself, or inhibits them?

Do share!

References

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