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  • Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

    Food and Nutrition Policy

     

    Introduction

    Assume people lived and practiced improved livelihood practices, exercising precautionary medicine against illness? Would life be longer and happier and would the spending on hospital bills and medicine reduce? Without shadow of a doubt it would thus public health which is the art of deterring disease, prolonging and enhancing health through organized hard work of knowledgeable societal organizations come in to introduce policies on healthy life practices (Harvey & Passmore, 1994). This has enabled emphasis to be put in education institutions, in hospitals and in general public on good health practices and has proved to be effective in preventing diseases such as diabetes and obesity among other diseases. Most emphasizes have been put on the food policy that entails the distribution, manufacture and use of foods. These policies are standard internationally and even at local level settings and involve the marketing and accessing of food for consumption. Food policies were set up with the rising concern for prevalence of marasmus and kwashiorkor in developing countries and obesity in developed countries (Caraher, Coveney & Lang, 2005). These policies that are in most cases introduced by the government ensure proper storage, sanitation and regulate on the contents of both packaged and raw foods. With the need to prevent these diseases and implement these laws food politics that entail the power over inspection and circulation of food affecting medical, cultural and environmental disputes concerning retailing and farming techniques and policies have resulted. Issues about food security and the technology for both production of food at the farm or in the companies have been regulated. It is thus with these concerns that I propose and advertise for enactment and enforcement of food and nutrition policies to change the approach of thinking about effects of food, its sustainability, the trends of our eating habits and the safety of the consumed foods especially genetically modified foods to better our communities.

    Evaluation of food and nutrition policies

    According to Caraher, Coveney & Lang (2005) food is a major determinant of our health. This is however dependent on the kind of foods we consume and the technology which was used to manufacture that food before consumption. Food policies are currently in place but there is a slow trend of their implementation thus not significantly effective. It is with this concern that approaches such as biomedical health, nutrition dietetics and food choices have been consulted. Ignoring these policies has been the causative for nutritive deficiency diseases or even diseases as a result of excessive consumption of certain foods. Advocacy for the enactment of food policies to increase food security, proper food consumption and governance by the respective bodies is on the rise. Food policies especially in Australia come in to being in 1991 under the organization as the National Food Authority that adopted new regulations on food policy which were gazette and certified. Later in 1994 it adopted rules that had been formulated by the World Health Organization on sanitation and tariff barriers on both the export and import of food. Currently it has made similar policies to be adopted in other countries with the objective to identify issues concerning food regulation and formulate effective strategies to ratify these policies as according to an essay on the food standards in Australia New Zealand (2010).

    According to WHO access to healthy and safe food is a human right that is fundamental as stated in an article of its first action plan for food and nutrition policy (1998). It states that food policies are important since they prevent food related illness and contribute to a development economically and at the same time sustaining the environment. According to this article these policies were officiated by the International Conference on Nutrition in 1992, this was due to the frequent occurrences of food borne illness and the emergence of new pathogens that were believed to poison food such as Clostridium botulinum causing deaths. Practices such as poor breast feeding and wrong timing of weaning resulting to deficiency diseases and disorder such as obesity causing cardiovascular diseases were also on the rise thus policies had to be introduced to ensure food safety, optimal health and sustainable food security world wide (Cullen, Watson and Zakari, 2008).

    Barriers to the implementation of food and nutrition policies

    The implementation of these food policies has faced a lot of challenges in their implementation. The food prices globally have increased and due to this food security and reduction of poverty has been a major challenge. This has forced people to indulge in eating habits which they can afford irrespective of whether it is healthy or not. Starvation is also a common experience by most people leading to people feeding on low quality diets since they have grown desperate. Most policies are expensive and quite hard to maintain if a society is poor and lacks funding thus many people are denied access to the right food or even to no food at all. The problem of lack of a national nutrition policy concerning this issue has dragged behind the implementation of these policies particularly in the US as according to Palmer and Sushma (1992). This has caused reluctance to implement these policies since they are no rules stipulating the consequences of non observance. Another major problem is the literacy level concerning the need to implement these policies. These policies go without knowledge since they are few people who have specialized in this field, further with many people being illiterate then these policies will not make sense thus will not be practiced. The governments in most countries have not incorporated education about these policies in the education institutions curricula thus many are not aware of their existence. According to Oritiz, Dardet, Ruiz and Gascon (2003) the major barriers to food and nutrition policy implementation are the poor correlation of social economic policies and other national nutrition and food policies thus causing inconsistencies in the food prices and practices of agriculture, lack of coordinated administrators in concerned organizations, corruption, lack of equity in the distribution of national resources and also the poor commitment of the concerned leaders thus dragging behind policies of implementation. According to Alexander, O’Gorman and Wood (2010) the lack of the public health administration to take its responsibility in the inspecting of food and its labeling during manufacturing has resulted have resulted to consumption of low quality foods.

    The challenge of poor accessibility of food due to impassable roads and poor security is being experienced in many developing countries due to the poor infrastructure and joblessness thus causing many people not to reach food. This to a great extent has deterred the proper eating policies of food being enacted resulting to starvation and indulgence in poor eating habits. The government imposition of tariff barriers has caused decreased accessibility of foods, it has also caused the entry of low quality food such as cereals containing afflatoxin and expired food due to lack of commitment and transparency (Stakeholder Convergence on Nutrition Policy, 2007).

    Solutions to problems of implementation of food and nutrition policies

    As this problem of lack or poor implementation of food and nutrition policy is currently intensifying policies laws to mitigate these weaknesses are being taken in to consideration with the help of non governmental organization such as the UN and also through improved individual government policies. The issue of availability of food as a basic need and fundamental human right is being emphasized with the government taking initiative to ensure everyone has access to enough amounts of food. This has caused a reduction in malnutrition with relief aid being provided to drought stricken areas. Taking measures to ensure that there is enough stock to prevent the lack of food has been undertaken ensuring prior planning for food stocks before exporting as stated by Andreasson et al (2006). According to Comparative analysis of food and nutrition policies in WHO European member state article (2003) the introduction of a coordinated administration of development policies with that of nutrition health has seen improvement of these policies. This has been through funding of campaigns to ensure good health practices such as mothers’ breastfeeding children fully for the first six months and also the allocation of enough money for food in the budget which has helped subsidize food prices. This has increased both the affordability and accessibility of food to the poor. According to Houghton, Neck and Cooper (2009) the contemporary society is also embracing the incorporation of health and nutrition policies in schools with several higher institutions introducing related courses.

    People who are well educated are also improving their eating habits and lifestyles by incorporating exercise and ensuring they eat food that is standardized and has the right kind and amount of balanced diet. The introduction of millennium development goals entailing the enhancement of transparency and good administration has also helped to reduce impunity in countries ensuring good planning and communal achievements in good food and nutritional practices as Babu et al (2004) stated. Inspection of foods for any harmful products especially in genetically modified foods is currently underway to ensure bio-safety in any bioscience activity done. This is known to reduce poisoning of foods from pesticides and fertilizers applied during their growing as according to Wright et al (2009) and also sustain the environment. According to Coveney (2003) these policies once implemented will go along way to curb diseases and increase the life expectancy of people since it emphasizes on not living to eat but eating so as to live. With these concepts people will safeguard their health by ensuring they eat the right kind of foods for the right purpose and from the right companies. This according to Coveney (2003) will only happen if the stipulated policies in the inspection, growing, accessing and eating of foods are observed stringently.

    Conclusion

    Food and nutrition policy have long existed since 1992 though they have not been fully implemented and this has resulted to increased deaths from communicable diseases due to poor sanitation, nutritive disorders due to deficiency or an excessive of a kind of food. This has thus called for elites to raise alarms on the poor trends of eating calling for introduction and enacting of policies concerning food and nutrition. Though this has been achieved it has been met with the challenges of illiteracy, poor governance and lack of national policies. Also the issues of poor infrastructure, tariff barriers and lack of incorporation in education curriculum have been experienced. Government policies and other groups such as NGOs have come in to mitigate these problems by giving aid and putting pressure on government to enhance infrastructure development and enhance transparency ensuring foods are eaten for the right purpose at the right quantity and for the right reasons. If this is made the continuum in our nations it will improve living conditions a great deal and promote good health in our societies.

     

     

     

    References

    Alexander, M. ,  O’Gorman, K. and Wood, K. (2010) Nutritional labeling in restaurants: Whose responsibility is it anyway?, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 22 Iss: 4, pp.572 – 579.

    Andreasson, B. , Eide, W. , Immink, M. and Oshaug, A. (2006). Practical methods to monitor the human right to adequate food (PMM). Volume II: approaches and tools. Report prepared for FAO by the International Project on the Right to Food in development (IPRFD).

    A SHORT HISTORY OF FSANZ : food standards in Australia new Zealand. (2010).Retrieved on 28th February 2011 form http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:9fVRuBI3u5wJ:www.foodstandards.gov.au/scienceandeducation/aboutfsanz/historyoffsanz.cfm+history+of+the+food+policy+in+Australia&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ke&source

    Babu, S. Rhoe, V. , Temu, A. and Hendriks, S. (2004). Strengthening Africa’s Capacity to Design and Implement Strategies for Food and Nutrition Security. INTERNATIONAL FOOD

    POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE 2004.

    Caraher, M. , Coveney, J. , & Lang, T. (2005). Food health and globalisation: is health promotion still relevant? In Promoting Health: Global Issues and Perspectives. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 90-105.

    Comparative analysis of food and nutrition policies in WHO European Member States (2003). Retrieved on 28th February 2011 from

    http://test.cp.euro.who.int/document/e81507.pdf

    Coveney, J. (2003), Why food policy is critical to public health? Critical Public Health, Vol 13, No. 2, pp. 99-105.

                Cullen, K. ,  Watson, K. and   Zakeri, I. American Journal of Public Health. Washington: Jan 2008. Vol. 98, Iss. 1; pg. 111, 6 pgs

    Harvey, J. and Passmore, S. (1994) Action on Nutrition; Health Education, Vol. 94 Iss: 5, pp.15 – 18.

    Houghton, J. , Neck, C. and Cooper, K. (2009) Nutritious food intake: a new competitive advantage for organizations?, International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 2 Iss: 2, pp.161 – 179.

    Ortiz, D.  Alvarez-Dardet,  C. , Ruiz, M.  and Gascón E.(2003). Identifying barriers to food and nutrition policies in Colombia: a study using the Delphi method. Colombia.

    Palmer, Sushma.  (1992). British Food Journal. Bradford. Vol. 94,  Iss. 3; pg. 12, 5 pgs

    Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2003 Sep;14(3):186-92.

    Stakeholder Convergence on Nutrition Policy: A Cross-Case Comparison of Case Studies in Costa Rica, Brazil and Canada. (2007). Retrieved on 28th February 2011 from

    http://www.paho.org/english/ad/dpc/nc/cmn-po-obs-cross-case.pdf

    The First Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Policy WHO European Region 2000-2005: Nutrition and Food Security Programme Division of Technical Support and Strategic Development. (1998). WHO Regional Committee, US experience Dietary Recommendations and the Public, The US Experience

    Wright, H. , Joseph, E. , Ironside and Gwynn-Jones, D. (2009). Sustainability in bioscience fieldwork: Practical information from a UK agricultural research institute, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 10 Iss: 1, pp.54 – 67

     

     

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    Reducing salt consumption among Australian Population

    Introduction

    Excess salt consumption has deleterious effects to human health. The Australian government stipulates in a guideline of the amount of salt to be consumed to be about 6 grams in a day though on the lower limit less than 4 grams should be consumed for maintenance in adults but abridged amount in younger children since they are more vulnerable to diseases 1. This is primarily because it has been seen to cause diseases such as hypertension and stroke which are common killer diseases in Australia as according to demographics particularly in Australian men1. Research has further shown that reducing the salt intake consequently reduces the risks for these diseases thus there is need to emphasize and enhance education concerning this campaign. The key focus is integrated working with food industries to curb this menace since it is also a result of increased mortalities among Australians due to cardiovascular disorders2. Concerns for high salt intake being implicated for certain carcinomas such as the stomach, kidney stones, diabetes and osteoporosis are being raised thus there is need to gravely take this campaign as dire if the population of Australia must curtail these deaths3. The need to reduce salt intake has been shown with studies stating that over 40% strokes could be halted if hypertension was dealt with by primarily reducing salt intake3. Demographics further indicate that every 5 minutes Australian hospitals accept a patient suffering from an osteoporotic fissure, a high prevalence of stomach cancer has also been witnessed among populations consuming a lot of salt. It is thus with these considerations that this paper takes an analytical look at how salt consumption can be reduced enhancing good health among Australians.

    Methods of reducing salt intake

                The focus to reduce salt consumption has been concentrated on food companies that produce such packed foods that are fortified with salt. Food and health dialogue 4 was held stipulating that the salt level monitoring of in food manufacturing companies must be implemented with the objective to reduce its level in products. Although this is the case less implementation of these laws has been less focused by these companies and startling reports have shown that some companies like that of bread, a commonly consumed cereal product have not adapted in accordance to this rule4. This means that law enforcers have to come in and ensure full implementation of these laws is enhanced. Institutes of healthcare such as that of Georgia has launched a database for monitoring salt levels of different products of companies and is visionary about enhanced accountability of both industries and the government in case of any anomaly4.

    Salt associated disorders have been seen to mostly affect males particularly in children of ages 2-16 thus reduced sodium consumption is needed for all packaged foods by about 25%5. This has been emphasized by the Australian branch of WASH through emphasized education for consumers who must read the labels of the foods they purchase, the industries which must ensure the foods they produce are of good eminence and they have reduced sodium chloride, community health workers who must put emphasizes on education concerning the need for reduced salt intake among other stakeholders5. In children aged 2-16 an intake of between 1.5 and 3.6 grams of salt have been recommended each day in the common food such as cereals, tomato and sauce products. These have been listed in the AWASH database and are foreseen to be educative and can be availed for everyone though without education they can they are of less significance since they require professional elucidation.

    Recommendations on reducing the intake of processed foods but rather the consumption of fresh vegetables which have less sodium and the checking of food labels to know the concentration of salt is also highly advised since about 75% of the salt we consume is from processed foods5. Limiting on fast foods, preparing of healthy snacks, using of taste enhancers such as garlic, vinegar and lemon juices that can be used as contingents of salt2 is advocated for as it will help in avoiding the use of mayonnaise, sauce and mustard which have high salt concentration. Education from dieticians and other community nutritionists should be emphasized as this will help improve in the questioning of the salt levels of foods and if they are suitable or not, an advertisement on the need to create a baseline for all dietary nutrients has also been called for6 by the government and other lobby groups helping spread the knowledge on the need for this campaign7. This will help in overall advocacy on low exposure to high salt concentration7. The implementation of a forum on high profile food packaging to increase consumer awareness on the need be conscious of their salt intake is also currently underway. Advocacy by the federal government of Australia on the need for enhanced consumer understanding on issues concerning salt’s deleterious effects is also currently underway and many Australians are beginning to take the issue of salt drop gravely8. The government is also proposing to impose heavy taxation on salt and salt containing products in order to discourage consumers from purchasing those products but rather encourage the consumption of products that are not processed and have less salt.

    Emphasizes on consumption of a pinch or small amount of salt is emphasized in different mass medias such as magazines with the aim of intensifying education and awareness concerning this campaign9. This is also seen as a new way to reduce the cost of salt manufacturing since it is no longer going to be required in Australia though it is going to be a big blow for the concerned company which was experiencing maximum profits through its many customers. The enforcement of this program is going to cost the nation a lot of money particularly due to slow implementation so that the sodium introduction can be reduced in terms of awareness and enforcement of the stipulated policies. This is stipulated to cause cost effective reduction, reversion and prevention of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and congestive heart failure, it will hence reduce the prevalence and the cost treating and managing these diseases, further it is going to be promote healthy living and prevent increased mortalities10. Subsidizing of foods with low salt concentration is also going to be done to ensure encouraged purchasing, widespread campaigns concerning this salt reduction has also been focused on particularly in health institutions and lobby groups encouraging awareness10.

    Conclusion

    The study has shown continued danger on Australia if accelerated salt consumption is going to be advocated for. This is also going to be a big blow for the growth of Australia due to continued deaths caused by osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancers of the stomach and also kidney failure. This is thus a big menace that requires quick address by improved health education concerning the issue, improved government enforcement to help the industries producing processed foods to follow rules of reduced salt campaigns. The government is also expected to makes laws stipulating high taxation for processed foods fortified with sodium and subsidize on non processed foods with low salt encouraging their consumption. Campaigns on the need to read food labels to help understand their meaning and monitoring on the process of manufacturing is also being done by lobby groups. Community health education to encourage consumers to take low salt is also seen to be on the rise in Australia though taking a slow trend in implementation and enforcement and is also an added cost to the government though highly recommended. This is foreseen to reverse conditions such as hypertension, obesity and kidney dysfunction hence reducing mortality.

    Footnotes  

    1. Dunford, E. Salt and men’s health AWASH key finding report March 2011: The George Institute for Health.  2011 March; Available www.awash.org.au and www.thegeorgeinstitute.org
    2. Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Salt and your health: The George Institute for Health.2005; Available at www.awash.org.au
    3. Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Salt can damage your health: The George Institute for Health. 2010;
    4. Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Bread Bakers- Salt Shakers: The George Institute for Health. 2006;
    5.  The Secretariat of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health. AWASH key finding document II: Salt levels in selected foods commonly eaten by children. The George Institute for Health. 2008 October;
    6. Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Drop the salt, AWASH puts salt on the agenda not on the table: The George Institute for Health. 2008;
    7. Grimes, C. The use of table and cooking salt in a sample of Australian adults: Asian pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2010; 19(2): 256-260.
    8. Webster, LJ., Nicole, LI., Dunford, EK., Carly, NA. & Bruce, CN. Consumer awareness and self reported behaviours to salt consumption in Australia: Asian Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2010; 19(4):550-554
    9. Webster, LJ., Dunford, EK., Barzi, F. & Bruce, CN. Just add a pinch of salt- current directions for the use of salt in recipes in Australian magazines: European journal of public health. 2009; 20(1): 96-99
    10. World Health Organization (WHO). The effectiveness and cost of population interventions to reduce salt consumption: The Gorge Institute for International Health. Sydney, Australia. 2007;

     

    Bibliography

    Dunford, E. Salt and men’s health AWASH key finding report March 2011: The George Institute for Health.  2011 March; Available www.awash.org.au and www.thegeorgeinstitute.org

    Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Bread Bakers- Salt Shakers: The George Institute for Health. 2006;

    Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Drop the salt, AWASH puts salt on the agenda not on the table: The George Institute for Health. 2008;

    Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Salt and your health: The George Institute for Health.2005; Available at www.awash.org.au

    Australian Division on World Action on Salt and Health. Salt can damage your health: The George Institute for Health. 2010;

    Grimes, C. The use of table and cooking salt in a sample of Australian adults: Asian pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2010; 19(2): 256-260.

    The Secretariat of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health. AWASH key finding document II: Salt levels in selected foods commonly eaten by children. The George Institute for Health. 2008 October;

    Webster, LJ., Nicole, LI., Dunford, EK., Carly, NA. & Bruce, CN. Consumer awareness and self reported behaviours to salt consumption in Australia: Asian Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2010; 19(4):550-554

    Webster, LJ., Dunford, EK., Barzi, F. & Bruce, CN. Just add a pinch of salt- current directions for the use of salt in recipes in Australian magazines: European journal of public health. 2009; 20(1): 96-99

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    HEALTHY EATING PLAN COMPARISON

    Introduction

                With the current increase in prevalence of diseases associated with eating habits such as diabetes, obesity, carcinomas and other cardiovascular diseases then it is crucial to make an eating plan (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. 2011). This will help you organize your eating, nullify bad eating habits and be mindful of the consequences of your eating habits. This will help you balance between good health needs and eating habits of your preferences. Learning about dietetics and nutrition helps a great deal to create awareness of the need to rectify your eating habits and replace them with good ones either to lose weight or maintain health by avoiding diseases. Assessing your physical activities and also your dietary intake will also provide information about weight gain and loss helping one to balance the two (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. 2011). This paper does a critical analysis of the changes which have been realized on gaining knowledge concerning good eating habits after assessment and the considerations which are crucial during making of meal choices in eating plans in a bid to enhance good eating habits and prevent eating disorders.

    Changes which have been realized from responses to week one questions

                With the knowledge concerning planning on what you intend to eat and the intent behind it, I have realized the importance of taking small meals within short intervals of about 2-3 hours. This is so because it prevents the accumulation of fats particularly those with cholesterol and also keeps the catabolic and anabolic processing activities continuum. I have also learnt to take caution on my habits of excising and the amount of fat I eat to prevent its accumulation through increased calories intake.

    Previously I preferred eating a lot of fatty foods such as bacon, beef and sausages among other junk foods avoiding my lunch dinner. This has however changed on realizing that these kinds of foods have deleterious effects to once health.  These eating habits are also evident by the aftermath effects which I am now coping with such as disfigured body shape and augmented body weight. This has also helped me to appreciate the value of exercise which I previously never used to do or even take them gravely. I have also changed my opinions of losing weight with the prancing of meals rather I have learnt to limit my daily calorie intake gradually to prevent fat accumulation in the body. I have also realized it is healthy to take a balanced diet consisting of foods such complex carbohydrates which have low levels of trans fats, increase intake in fiber and green leafy vegetables contrary to the junk I used to eat. This I know is not only healthy but provides a balanced diet evading common eating disorders. I have also adapted the eating of breakfasts that are 50/50 shaken on the concentration of fat and that of protein.

    A few minutes before I sleep I take a lot of water and skimmed milk powder to help in muscle recovery. This does not contain fat but ensures that my muscles are not wasted and replaced with fat which could effectively lead to complications such as cholestasis and arthritis. However I ensure that I take oleic acid containing foods such as almonds. Frequent assessment on my weight has shown significant decline with only the use of exercise and a good diet plan other than using medication for weight loss which cause deleterious effects.

    I have also concentrated my focus on the calories I take and how I take them to ensure I lose weight effectively without affecting my health status. I take 3.5 ounces of whole grain; I have improved on my vegetable and fruit intake being more cautious on the kind of fat they contain and the amount. This has led my calorie intake to reduce to 290, intensified physical exercise through engaging in activities which are vigorous hence maximize on metabolism and energy loss. This will help to dispose off the calories intake other than depositing then as adipose layer increasing the body weight (Healthy eating plan, 2011).

    Changes on the kind of food I eat, how I eat it and what I do after eating determines my weight thus I have been more cautious to observe these as instructed. Concentrating much on packaged foods has been replaced with foods which are organic since they do not contain fortified fats. This has resulted to my loss of at least 100 pounds since I put these points in consideration which I intend to consistently lose to reach the required body mass index. On reaching this BMI I will consistently take about 300 calories to retain that weight constantly.

    Considerations I am more aware of when making food choices

    In making this efficient plan of eating I have put several factors in considerations so that these inferences can be made. First is the nutritional adequacy based on the intention of eating such as to be healthy, reduce weight based on the needs of a given gender. This has helped me to change to eat only foods which are palatable and nutritious.

    The food budget which requires adjustments so that a change from the usual junk to selected few foods can be incorporated. This requirement however has favored me since most if not all cases the organic foods which are my preference are much cheaper compared to packaged foods. Further the budget must rhyme with my likes and dislikes so that it can be accommodating.

    The contents of some foods is also a major considerations, this is because foods such as those containing a lot of cholesterol and high concentration of trans foods are linked with diseases such as kidney stones and congestive heart failure hence not healthy to intake. Foods such as almonds and avocado which contain omega fats are healthy and should be eaten to prevent cardiovascular diseases and enhance muscle recovery.

    The issue of physical exercise is also crucial since it determines the amount of energy outlet on in taking foods. It helps in wasting away the calories in taken in foods other than depositing it as fat in the adipose layer hence increasing etiology for diseases such as obesity. This has also been researched extensively to be a safe way of losing weight. It is also essential in maintaining a steady body weight without fluctuations which is a major cause of stretch marks. Making choices of foods with high fat concentration will demand much exercise to cut down the extra calories (Healthy eating plan, 2011).

    A calorie is a measure of energy contained in different foods and the amount determines the food energy giving potential. Junk for instance have many calories compared to organic foods hence less preferred in healthy eating plans. The calories content in every food must be carefully noted since they give a clue on the trend of intake and the consequence of food intakes. They determine weight gain, loss and also maintenance of appropriate BMI (Healthy eating plan, 2011).

    Conclusion

    Knowledge concerning eating and its health effects are essential for curbing the current trends of eating disorders. This is because they instill knowledge on reason for eating, what you are eating and what the impacts of what you have eaten are. This knowledge has effectively helped me to eat less but more frequently minding the calorie gain. Eating junk food less often and also appreciating the benefits of organic foods other than packaged foods has been realized. This knowledge has helped me prevent diseases and live an active life where health is precedent. With the knowledge to make food choices, care in knowing their composition, calorie level and nutritional adequacy is now considered for health maintenance. This helps us to eat to live but not live to eat.

     

     

    References

    Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. (2011). My pyramid tracker. Retrieved on 16th April 2011 from; http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/

    Healthy Eating Plan notes (2011).

     

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    So Others Might Eat (SOME)

    Discuss the Community Nutrition Program Observation……………….

     

    Introduction;

    So Others Might Eat Community (SOME) is a non-profit making organization located inWashingtonDCand has been in existence for 40 years. It has three objectives; to meet the most basic needs ofWashingtonDC’s poor and homeless citizens, empowering all those people who are willing to make real and lasting solutions in their lives and pushing for stronger governmental solutions to homelessness and poverty in the District. This is the community nutrition program where I carried out my observation.

    Mission and purpose;

    SOME is a community-based, inter-faith organization whose existence reason is to help the homeless and the poor of the nation’s capital. It meets the immediate daily needs of the individuals it serves with health care, food and clothing. In the course of its activities it aims helping break the cycle of homelessness by providing services like job training, affordable housing, counseling and addiction treatment, to the elderly, the poor and persons with mental illnesses.

    Given the fact that approximately fourteen thousand people are homeless on any one day in Washington DC, the existence of SOME and other organizations  involved in similar activities is well justified (Hatfield, 2004). The for existence of such a substantial number of needy people considering the status of U.S economy has been attributed to such reasons as substance abuse, personal problem s and mental  illness. Some have been brought out into the streets by the high cost of health care and housing.

     

     

    Program fit with mission and philosophy of community/public health nutrition;

    The program of offering free food, clothing and affordable housing fits well with the mission of the community program of trying to break the cycle of homelessness. This is evidenced by the fact that such groups of persons are able to meet their basic needs and in the process allow them lead a dignified life. The public health philosophy adopted in the recent years of by public health policy makers of prevention of infectious diseases rather than cure is supported by the activities of SOME , through provision of healthy foods to participants a wide variety of diseases spread by germs are kept at bay.

    Target group and their characteristics;

    This program targets the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups inWashingtonDC’s community. The vulnerability comes in the sense that these people lack sufficient recourses to enable them lead a dignified life. These groups include the poor, the old and the mental illnesses and the basic characteristics underlying them all is the fact that they are unemployed and lack a constant stream of income to be able to adequately support their basic needs financially. This group is also characterized by members having low level of formal education and it follows that have little knowledge awareness of the need for high emphasis on healthy living. Some have no homes while others have very little income .Little hope for better life is not uncommon too.

    Opportunities presented by this population;

    This program provides the opportunity for those individuals who otherwise would be destitute to lead a dignified life. In addition, as per the organizations objective, those individuals who are currently in a bad financial shape and are willing to make some lasting changes in their lives are provided with an opportunity to do so by the organization. The need to uphold high standards of hygiene in the nation’s capital is also given uplift because if they were to be left on their own devices, these people would be living unhealthy lives characterized by living in under bridges, alleys and consumption of unclean food stuffs. This has the danger of cases diseases that can be easily controlled by observation of high hygiene levels to be prevalent and consequently have more resources channeled to the treatment of such diseases, a trend that would be unnecessary.

    Crime is reduced as those destitute teenagers and young men who naturally have no criminal tendencies would not engage in crime as they are enabled to lead a life with dignity. Likewise teenage girls are saved from prostitution triggered by poverty. In this respect, school enrolment among children of school-going age in this population will receive a significant boost. In addition, the program is likely to have the effect of stabilizing the mental health of the participants as provision of basic necessities will automatically reduce the stress levels among the beneficiaries. The fact that the program has been able to turn around the path of some who had given up hope and actually made them self-depended is a plus to the economy because they change from being net consumers and become net producers. The sitting government can also gain political mirage through continued support of these groups in that some may view it in a positive light. They may look at it as being compassionate to the needy.

    Yet another opportunity provided by this population is the chance for extensive research to be carried out so as to determine the best programs that can be initiated to improve the welfare of such groups wherever they may be found.

     

     

    Challenges presented by the population;

    This population presents several challenges. First, the poor youth in the population are highly predisposed to crime as they seek ways to way to survive. This is dangerous to the security of all citizens and their possessions. Second, young girls are highly likely to engage in prostitution as a means of earning a living. The result of this would be high rates of or drug abuse and unwanted pregnancies coupled with teen hood motherhood and thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty, argues The community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (2010).

    The spread of diseases caused by poor living standards is likely to occur and strain the nation’s health facilities, as Dawson(2009) argues in his book the Philosophy of Public Health. Politically, on one hand, this group of individuals who are supported from the public coffers could be a political menace to the government as some quarters would campaign against such support arguing that such continued support puts heavier burden in the shoulders of tax payers. They would also argue that since the nation is run on a capitalist platform, it is wrong to direct scarce resources to areas where returns are almost non-existent. But other action groups would still give the government headache by way of advocating for the government to commit more resources in provision of more employment opportunities cheaper housing in order to get the destitute people whom they view as a shame to the nation people out of the streets.

    Health issues addressed by the SOME program;

    SOME provides a network of health care that is comprehensive. Their clinic is open 8:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday. Patients are served on both appointment and walk-in basis. Health services comprises of a Dental clinic, Eye clinic and a Medical clinic. The Medical Clinic provides a wide range of services that include podiatry services, treatment of diabetics, HIV care and laboratory services. The eye Clinic provides free services.

    This program addresses the issue of individual and group counseling through the use of professional clinicians as part of SOME’s Behavioral Health Services. Extremely low-income individuals and the homeless are targeted. The organizations psychiatrists and therapists address mental illnesses, general treatment and substance abuse through comprehensive social service program. For this purpose, the organization has two houses, Jordan House Mary Claire House and Isaiah House. Jordan House offers a stable, safe environment that is homelike. Clients receive customized treatment plans upon leaving helps patients to maintain stability of their mental health. On the other hand Mary Clare House provides transitional housing transitional service to those homeless persons with persistent an severe mental illnesses after their mental health has stabilized after receiving care at Jordan House. It is a facility run by residents and has a live-in Peer Support Specialist together with a dedicated professional staff.  Residents of this facility are taught self care and basic living skills that prepare them for independent living. The skills also help the residents to maintain balanced mental health as well as assisting them to find long-term housing.

    Isaiah House focuses on outreach, peer support and peer-led activities to engage homeless adults with mental illness in the community. Therapeutic groups, individual case management and life-skills together with a wide set of enrichment activities that are designed to assist the drop-in residents to fully maximize their independence and engage in their communities to, the fullest extend.

     

    References

    Hatfield, D. (2004). The homeless in Washington DC: Reaching out to help the “other population”. Cosmos Club. Retrieved on April 26, 2010 from www.cosmos-club.org/web/journals/2004/hatfield.html

    The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness. (2010).Understanding Homelessness Retrieved on April 26, 2010 from www.community-partnership.org/cp_dr-Fastf.php

    Dawson, A. (2009). Philosophy of public health. NY: Ashgate Publishing Company.

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    Research method

    Briefly and concisely identify and explain the significance for research methods in dietetics, family studies,or nutrition…………………….

    1.      Composite variable

    This type of analysis is a simple procedure that involves clustering and is developed exclusively for use with information that is derived from single items’ responses. An example is when investigating latent variables of structures in nutritional measures similar to the principle component analysis of various diets.

    2.      Confirmatory vs. exploratory factor analysis

    Confirmatory factor analysis in statistics is a special kind of factor analysis used to assess the loadings of variables and the number of factors. In exploratory factor analysis, the loadings are free to vary as they please. An example of a critical factor analysis on a 60 food items nutritional value test that claimed to be measuring the most nutritious diet, might aim to assess just how fit is the model proposed (Sheppard 1996).

    3.      Convergent vs. discriminant validity

    These are both subcategories of construct validity and they work together. Convergent validity is of the view that measures in construct are supposed to be related to one another in theoretical terms and observed to be related, for instance health and nutrition. Discriminant validity measures the constructs that should not be related to each other theoretically and observed not to be related, for instance quantity of food and the nutritional value.

     4.      Degrees of freedom (DF)

    The degree of freedom in statistics is a number which depicts the number of values arrived at in the final computation of a statistic that is open to fluctuations. The estimates around these statistical parameters are based on varying amounts of information, thus its importance in the estimation of variance. Degrees of freedom refer therefore to the number of autonomous sections of information that go into the estimation of a parameter. For example the degree of variance of a sample is N – 1, and N is the number of observations say nutritional statistics.

    5.      Descriptive statistics

    These are used in the description of the main facets of a collection of information in quantitative terms. They aim to summarize a data set in a quantitative manner. An example of a descriptive statistic is reporting an average nutritional value of a group of foods in a given household, to give a description of the nutritional capability of that household (Büttner 1997).

    6.      Inductive vs. deductive research approaches

    Deductive approach is based and begins with general ideas ranging from principles, theories and laws and from these one forms an explicit hypothesis that is examinable to support the common thoughts. Inductive approach on the other hand begins with the specifics such as the examination of the individual cases. For instance when aiming to figure out the best diet for a patient diagnosed with a certain deficiency disease, the common theory is to feed the patient with foods rich in the nutrients he /she lacks: that is deductive approach. The inductive approach aims to investigate the underlying factors that contributed to the patient’s condition.

    7.      Null hypothesis vs. Alternative hypothesis

    These are the rival hypotheses that a statistical hypothesis test strives to compare. An example could be in the nutritional value of a crop that is being studied and modified over years and a test of the null hypothesis is made that there is no change in the nutritional value in between the 1st and 2nd halves of the information against the alternative hypothesis that the nutritional value has gone down in the 2nd half of the findings.

    8.      Reductionism vs. Holism

    Holism and reductionism are seen as direct opposites of each other. Holism stands for the notion that properties (such as chemical, biological and physical) of a certain system are not explainable or determinable by its constituent parts only. Thus a system that is as a whole is what determines the manner in which the parts will behave. For instance, a whole system, of food production process will determine the overall nutritional value of that given final product. Reductionism on the other hand says that a complex system is explainable by reducing its fundamental parts. For instance in describing the nutritional value of a food product, one could break down the various process involved in its production (Rosenberg 2006).

    9.      True experiment vs. Quasi-experiment

    True experiment involves the assigning of subjects to random different conditions. The difference in the groups would be by chance. They are important in showing the relationship between cause and effect. Quasi experiments are natural experiments where subjects are assigned according to conditions beyond the experimenter’s control, for example studying the nutritional value of two different foods.

    10.  Types of measurement or levels of measurement (nominal, ordinal, ratio, interval)

    These are scales of measure and were developed by Stanley Stevens who was a psychologist. He suggested that scientific measurement occurs or is conducted using the four different scales which are nominal for mode and chi squares, ordinal for median and percentiles, ratio for all permitted statistics for interval scales and interval. For example the investigation of positive similarities in the nutritional value of different foods, or the monotonic increasing orders of food quantity to nutritional ratio.

     

    Essay

    a.      Theory and its use in nutrition research

    A theory especially a scientific one, comprises of a set of concepts which also includes generalization of phenomena that is observable and is expressed as proven properties in conjunction with scientific laws that conveys relationships between the observations of such models. Theories act as a set of principles that are normally set forth to act as a guiding or explanatory class of a set of phenomena (Luce 2000).

    Theories in most cases are constructed mostly with an aim of trying to explain or even to predict a certain phenomena for instance in this case, an example may be; why an increased in take of salt in the diet causes muscle twitching. These theories can be considered to be models of reality, and the statements that are incorporated within such theories are considered to be axioms of some system. The main aim of the construction of these models is to make the model in to a reality by formalizing it. Thus the whole universe is a model of many theories as long as the science in which they are under is true (Luce 2000).

    Educational programs that are based on nutrition that are designed to aid in the facilitation of dietary change and help in the provision of environmental support can be borrowed from the theory building and research from certain fields for instance anthropology, social psychology, health education, economics and even behavioral research on nutrition and nutrition education. When talking of theory, what is meant is a conceptual map that is extracted from evidence to aid in the understanding of the influences on the various food related behavior in relation to, or to predict, action or action change. Theory constructs are also organized in to a mental map by theory. A practice then uses these mental maps in the development of interventions that are useful in changing the behavior, and the provision of feedback that is aimed at improving the theory (Luce 2000).

    The model that is familiar with most educators is the KAB model. This model states that changes in knowledge leads to changes in attitudes which will then lead to changes in behaviors. This is a much simpler theory and it is capable of making the methodological structure of that particular study to seem less complex as compared to the other more complex models that aid in the understanding of the methodological structure of the study.

    b.      Incorporation of theories in to the measurement of the aspects of a research study

    Theories can thus according to its definition be used in the measurement of the findings of a research study, by comparing the results that the research study found with the set of concepts that the theory idealizes. Designing of theory based programs is normally made much simpler by the following of a given procedure. An example of a model is based on a model that is logic where nutrition educators are responsible for the planning of the input, output and the outcomes, where the inputs are the resources and individuals that are needed as well as the needs and assessment process. The outputs on the other hand are the components of nutrition education and the outcomes are the impacts that the nutritional program has on the behavioral practices which happen to be the main focus of the whole program. The outcomes are capable of being short term, medium or long term (Luce 2000).

     

    c.       Implications of sampling techniques and recruitment of samples

    The sampling methods employed in most cases normally rely upon the nature of whatever is being sampled and the scope of the information that is required. There are a number of factors that determine the choice of technique to be used or applied in different research studies. The quality and the nature of the frame is one of the factors influencing the choice. The availability of the secondary information about units that are included in the frame is another factor to be considered in the choice of the sampling technique. There is also the issue of the accuracy requirement of the study and the need by the researcher to ensure that the study is accurate. There is also the issue of how much detail is required or expected from the analysis of the sample. The costs that are expected to be incurred in the study are also an issue to be considered when choosing the sampling technique to be used in the research by the researcher.

    There are a number of sampling methods that are available for use such as the; simple random sampling where all subsets are given an equal probability, systematic sampling which involves arrangement of the target population then selecting elements in an ordered list systematically, stratified sampling, probability proportional to size sampling, cluster sampling, matched random sampling, quota sampling, convenience sampling, line intercept sampling, panel sampling, and event sampling.

     

    Essay 2

    Community based participatory research (CBPR)

    This is a type of research that is conducted on the equal collaboration of experts who are trained in that field that they are researching on, and the members of the community. In the community based participatory research projects, the community is included and participates fully in most or all of the aspects of the research process (Wallerstein & Duran 2003). The community based participatory research projects in most cases normally start with the community. Community in most cases is normally self definitive but the general categories that do exist of communities are; a community of people with a common issue or problem also called the geographical community or a group of people with a common interests or goals. Community based participatory research encourages the collaboration of the trained researchers as long as the researcher provides expertise that is perceived as useful to the investigation by the community, and also be committed to ensuring the outcomes that are produced are useful to the community and its development.

     

    1. The benefits of Community based participatory research for those served by the intervention, for the researcher, and for the field or discipline

    The benefits of using a community based participatory research approach is widely seen from the research that it is carrying, to the communities it is serving and the science it is promoting. Community based participatory research enhances the relevance of the data and its use, and is also capable of increasing the quality and the validity of the research or the study being carried out, improves the implementation and intervention design by the implementation of participant recruitment as well as retention, and benefits the community on which the study is being carried out through the knowledge gathered and the actions of the research (Wallerstein & Duran 2003).

    Looking further in to the benefits of community based participatory research; there are the community benefits and the research benefits. Some of the community benefits include the fact that resources can be used more efficiently. There is also the building of trust within the community and the possibilities of the procedures that are taken to govern the protection of the participants used in the study are acceptable and protected. As mentioned, the problems that the study will be addressing will be very relevant to the study groups being studied within the community and its members. The research proposal is also more likely to address the issues that are of concern to the community in a manner that is acceptable by the same community (Wallerstein & Duran 2003).

     

    1. Challenges of Community based participatory research

    There are several barriers that challenge community based participatory research. There are the poor incentives that the community donates and the capacity to conduct the community based participatory research. There is also the lack of incentives in the area of academics and finally inadequate funds and funding mechanisms that are insensitive. There have also been questions about the legitimacy of the Institutional Review Board and the methods that they use in research approval (Wallerstein & Duran 2003).

    Solutions to some of these problems could include more community participation in the sense of incentives, government intervention to aid in funding such projects and sensitizing the community on the importance of these projects.

     

    1. Teacher inquiry and education action research

    The major goal that is normally aimed in the research by teachers is the creation of an inquiry stance that is based on teaching. The questioning of ones own teaching practice is part of the teaching culture, considering that the inquiry stance is a positioning which is professional and owned by the teacher, and the teaching profession is a complex one. This teacher inquiry can play a major role in the improvement of efforts by the students, if it is well cultivated and continually enhanced in the growth of these students, and thus improve the schooling experience of most of these students (Dana & Yendol-Silva 2003).

    Teacher inquiry is also known as teacher research and is a systematic research that teachers conduct for use in their classroom practice. The need for change is the aim of teacher inquirer and they reflect upon this practice by asking questions, gaining insights into these questions that they raise by collecting data, reading relevant data along side the analyzing of the data that was collected, making changes in the practice of teaching mainly based on the manner in which the new developments of the inquiry were understood, and the sharing of these findings that the study or research found with others. It benefits educators and students as it saves on time needed to conduct the study and gives them a base on which to start their own research.

    Education action research has been criticized and truly so, since some research studies are not quantifiable in terms of the theories used and the outcomes that the study comes up with (Dana & Yendol-Silva 2003).

     

    Bibliography

    Büttner J. (1997). Diagnostic validity as a theoretical concept and as a measurable quantity. Clin Chim Acta. Apr 25;260(2):131-43.

     

    Dana, N. F., & Yendol-Silva. (2003).  The reflective educator’s guide to classroom research: Learning to teach and teaching to learn through practitioner inquiry.Thousand Oaks,CA: Corwin Press.

     

    Luce, R.D. (2000). Utility of uncertain gains and losses: measurement theoretic and experimental approaches.Mahwah,N.J.:Lawrence Erlbaum.

     

    Rosenberg, A. (2006). Darwinian Reductionism or How to Stop Worrying and Love Molecular Biology.University ofChicago Press.

     

    Sheppard, A. G. (1996). The sequence of factor analysis and cluster analysis: Differences in segmentation and dimensionality through the use of raw and factor scores. Tourism Analysis, 1, 49-57.

     

    Wallerstein, N. and B. Duran (2003). The Conceptual, Historical and Practical Roots of Community Based Participatory Research and Related Participatory Traditions. Community Based Participatory Research for Health. M. Minkler and N. Wallerstein.San Francisco, Jossey Bass: 27-52.

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