General internist at Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her clinical and research interests are in the prevention and treatment of obesity through lifestyle modification.
ResearchDr. Thorndike's current research focuses on population-based approaches that utilize behavioral economics strategies to promote healthy food choices in worksite and community environments.
“CHOOSE WELL, EAT WELL,” a simple, inexpensive nutrition program launched at the MGH in 2010, has proven successful in encouraging healthier choices at the hospital’s largest cafeteria, the Eat Street Café.
A year ago while I was rearranging the beverage display at Compare Supermarket in Chelsea, I thought to myself: “How did I get from medical school to the supermarket aisle?” The complete story is long- too long for this article- but my path from internal medicine residency and primary care practice to community-based research reflects an evolution in my thinking about prevention and health.
The success of the Choose Well, Eat Well traffic light labeling program – launched in the MGH Eat Street Café in 2010 – recently earned the hospital a grant from the Donaghue Foundation to expand the program to reach all patients and visitors.
A simple program involving color-coded food labeling and adjusting the way food items are positioned in display cases was successful in encouraging more healthful food choices in a large hospital cafeteria.
The use of color-coded "traffic light" food labels and changes in the way popular items are displayed appear to have produced a long-term increase in the choice of more healthful food items among customers in a large hospital cafeteria.