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Doctor Forced To Resign For Dissing Dunkin Donuts

Posted by Jane Akre
Saturday, August 15, 2009 1:14 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Obesity, Junk Food, Public Health, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Chronic Disease

Dr. Jason Newsom is fired for taking his anti junk food message public in Panama City, Florida.



IMAGE SOURCE: Panama City News Herald Web site/ image of Dr. Jason Newsom

A Bay County, Florida doctor, Jason Newsom, recently lost his job because he very publicly dismissed Dunkin Donuts, among other American fare.

Dr. Newsom worked for the public health department of the county and outside of his office he flashed an electronic sign, “Donuts = Diabetes,” and “America Dies on Dunkin.”

The Associated Press reports, “I think he was somewhat of a zealot,” said one county commissioner. “I don’t have a problem with him pushing an agenda, it’s the way he did it. People borrowed money to go into business and they are being attacked by the government.”

Newsom had other signs too. “Hamburger = Spare Tire,” and “French Fries = Thunder Thighs,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Newsom, 38, and a former Army doctor who served in Iraq, returned to his home in Panama City to run the Bay County Health Department, but he decided to launch his one-man war on obesity and junk foods by posting the electric signs.

Part of his $140,000 a year job was to educate the public about health issues such as the flu and AIDS, but he decided to encompass the dangers of over-fatted, over-salted, high calorie food and their relation to chronic disease.

"My method was a little provocative and controversial," he says to CBS, "but there wasn't a person in Bay County who wasn't talking about health and healthy eating."

In his two years on the job, Dr. Newsom banned doughnuts and other pastries at meetings, and removed regular sodas and junk food from vending machines while he waged a public relations battle against Gatorade, fried foods, and basically anything with sugar. Some employees objected sending e-mails to county commissioners, Department of Health (DOH) officials, even Florida's surgeon general, asking for his removal, reports the News Herald.

Dunkin Donuts is reportedly glad the sign is down. A county commission reportedly owns one donut shop, reports CBS News and two lawyers who own a Dunkin’ Donuts in Panama City Beach, threatened to sue.

The bulk of all health care dollars are spent on treating chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, which are all diet-related.

Newsom hopes to get his job back and continue his healthy eating campaign.

In Bay County, Florida as of 2007, 39 percent of all adults were overweight and 25 percent were obese. #

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