Encouraging Federal Policy and Regulations against Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity must be addressed by policy makers to curb the epidemic of poor nutrition and exercise among American youth. According to the American Journal of Public Health 17% of youth are clinically obese, (Golust, Kite, Benning, Callanan, Weisman, & Nanney, 2014). When including young people who are overweight into the statistics the number rises to 30%, (John Hopkins University, 2013). This indicates that 1 in 4 children is considered overweight or obese. Obesity is a serious health concern that increases the risk for a host of problems and issues. It negatively affects physical, mental, and social health.  Many of the problems associated with obesity concern diabetes and heart disease. Additional health concerns are increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, sleep apnea, asthma, poor joints, and cancer, (CDC, 2014). Health conditions are psychological to include depression, psychosocial disorders, and increased chance of discrimination, (John Hopkins University, 2013). Those who are overweight and obese as children often grow up to be obese adults. Obese adults are at advanced risks of poor health which can lead to premature to death. For this reason and more, healthcare affiliates have increased demand to promote preventive strategies against obesity. They go further to encourage the government to get involved, to take action through policies, programs, and initiatives. By creating policies on a federal level that encourage healthy living, children and their families have equal opportunities to resources that encourage wellness and reduce risks relating to obesity.

Problem

Obesity negatively affects children and their families. It has become a growing trend due to changes observed in America society overtime. This includes the increases supply and demand for high calorie foods and sugar. From high portion sizes, lack of exercise, and poor food choices, many children do not receive appropriate nutrition. Furthermore, with the increase use of gadgets and technology, young people are easily entertained and do basic duties while remaining stagnant. This has fundamentally changed daily living for many Americans. However, the populations most affected by obesity are those living in underserved communities. These are impoverished areas with limited access to information and healthy lifestyle choices. Many of these populations include minorities, the poor, and people of color. “Obesity is the result of biological, behavioral, social, environmental, and economic factors and the complex interactions among these facts that promote a positive energy balance”, (John Hopkins University, 2013). To address this problem there are various governmental regulations and policies in place. On the federal level, the Centers for Disease Control enacted the Cooperative Agreement DP13-1305, Doman 2 Enhanced Strategies. This simply promotes strategies, preventive measures and resources required to reduce the epidemic. The strategies for enforcement can be found in the DNPAO recommended domain entitled, “State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease Obesity and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health FOA”, (CDC, 2014).

There is an increased need to draw awareness to the issue and create strategies for change. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has addressed the need to improve health for children. The initiative is on a federal level however it does not affect the laws and regulations including those from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, various cities and counties nationwide have created laws to limit and restrict high calorie foods and drinks in different locations. For instance, the city of Berkeley, California has increased taxes on the sale of sodas to discourage purchases. Additional California laws restrict the sale of food and beverages that do not meet school meal programs as observed in the Senate Bill 12, Chapter 235, Statues of 2005 Senate bill 965, (California Department of Education, 2015). This includes prohibiting vending machines that offer soda, chips, sweets, and candies found in schools and profile areas. Furthermore, first lady Michelle Obama has become a catalyst and spokesperson against childhood obesity. Since 2008 the first lady has created an initiative for change called, “Let’s Move!”, “a comprehensive initiative… dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams”, (Letsmove.gov, 2014). Although these avenues have driven awareness of the issue it has not curved the rate of obesity in children and has done little to help the problem.

Context

There are various laws that can be found across the states that restrict high calorie foods in schools and underserved communities to encourage healthy food choices. However, the laws, strategies, and initiatives in place are not enough. “Small declines in obesity rates have been recently observed [but] a comprehensive evidence-based policy approach is needed to continue to make a meaningful impact”, (Gollust et al., 2014). To reduce obesity, restrictions against high calorie foods must be made on a federal level. Collaboration must occur between government agencies including the CDC, FDA, and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The goal of federal initiatives is to reduce the rate of obesity among youth by 10% over the next several years. Considering the slow decline of obesity and the awareness campaign presented by the first lady this goal is both realistic and obtainable. The CDC provides various strategies and initiatives for states and local communities to curve the epidemic. Initiatives that local governments can provide is additional zoning areas for parks and recreation to promote physical activity, (CDC, 2014). Ranging from bike facilities for alternative transportation, recreational spaces, and resources, more can be done to promote healthy lifestyles. While many subdivisions and communities offer tennis courts to residence, this sport is less likely to encourage young people to exercise. More basketball courts should be provided to underserved communities. It is a sport that requires little resources for those who are low income and is also popular among youth. Furthermore, all communities, especially those in impoverished areas, should have healthy food retailers made available as well as farmers markets that honor EBT or food stamp programs for those who qualify, (CDC, 2014). While increasing taxes and restricting sugar and high calorie foods to certain facilities is a start, it is not enough to promote and encourage quality nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

Current Status

The Center for Disease Control provides the most up to date statistics regarding obesity in youth. Not only do they describe and outline the cause, rates, strategies, and solutions to the problem, they go on to describe resources available for local communities to curve the epidemic. This includes local, state, and federal programs, highlights, and the federal Implementation Guidance and Resources for Cooperative Agreement DP 13-1305 Doman 2 Enhanced Strategies (DNPAO). This information and more can be found on their Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity website at CDC.gov, (http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/index.html). CDC provides a long list of state programs across the country such as, Active Transportation to School, Enhanced School-Based Physical Education, Food Policy Counsels, Improving Retail Access for Fruits and Vegetables, Limiting Access to Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Applying Nutrition Policies in Child Care, School, and Worksite Settings, and many more. All of these work in collaboration and agreement of the federal initiative found in the DNPAO. The CDC provides these comprehensive strategies to curve the epidemic in underserved communities. These are children and families who are low income and with limited access to healthy choices and lifestyles. This population lives in underserved communities where a nutritious diet can be not only costly but also unrealistic and unobtainable. By providing serves to these communities, the obesity rate can decline drastically by providing improved options and resources to this special population.

Conclusion

There are many initiatives that can be observed on a local level to combat obesity in various cities such as Berkeley, San Francisco, New York, and Oklahoma City. Although cities are doing what they can to curve the epidemic, such strategies should be implemented on a state and federal level. Reaching communities on the local level is just a start. Once these strategies reach a federal level, underserved communities across the country will have improved access to healthy diets and activities. Not all states and jurisdictions are committed to combat childhood obesity. Many of these locations are observed in places throughout the South and Midwest. These are conservative states that are less focused on health and nutrition and more focused on issues unrelated to improving the quality of life for all Americans.  Tackling the problem on the federal level will provide equal opportunities to all people regardless of community and location. Obesity is not a local problem and but is witness the country. Not one state holds an obesity rate less than 10%. The majority of the states (33) have an obesity rate of 25%, however some states have an obesity rate of 30% or more including, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia, (CDC, 2014). With so many states witnessing a widespread epidemic of obesity it is clear that this is a federal problem which must be met on a federal level.

 

References

  1. California Department of Education, (2014). Restrictions on Food and Beverage Sales.  Sacramento, CA. Retrieved from: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/mb06110.asp

 

  1. Centers for Disease Control, (2014). Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/policy/obesity.html

 

  1. Gosllust, S., Kite, H., Benning, S., Callanan, R., Weisman, S., Nanney, M. (2014). Use of Research Evidence in State Policy Making for Childhood Obesity Prevention in Minnesota. American Journal of Public Health. 104 (10) 1894-1900.

 

  1. Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center, (2013). Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs: Comparative Effectiveness Review and Meta-Analysis. Effective Health Care Program Comparative Effectiveness Review Number 115. Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Retrieved from: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/330/1524/obesity-child-report-130610.pdf

 

  1. Let’s Move (2014). Childhood Obesity Task Force Report. The Epidemic of Childhood  Obesity. Retrieved from: http://www.letsmove.gov/about
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Healthy Nutrition in Infants

Adequate nutrition is vital for good health in all people, especial for infants and children. It is required for healthy growth and development and without it they can suffer incurable physical, biological, and neurological damage. Nutrition in young people continues to be of interest to dietitians and medical scientist. As growing families to adapt to the changes in modern society such as food access, variety, and processes many struggle to maintain a nutritious diet. This can be observed in the rising obesity epidemic. While adults are getting larger and heavier from poor nutrition and exercise, so are infants and children. It is reported that, “nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese”, (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016). These populations may consume large portion or high calorie foods, yet still suffer from malnutrition due to their poor eating habits. A growing health concern, it is important that young families are aware of infant nutrition, eating patterns, and healthy habits. By providing adequate nutrition to infants, parents can ensure their infants grow to reach their full potential of health.

The relationship between obesity and poor nutrition in children can be observed in the case study of “Steven”. Steven represents the average infant who has become overweight with time. When Steven was born he was 8 pounds and 20 inches. He continued to grow at an average weight during the first and second month. At 2 months old, Steven was at an average weight and height at 12 pounds 8 ounces. When Steven turned 3 months old that’s when things started to change. This is because he put on 2 pounds in 3 months putting him in the 95th percentile on the growth chart. Today, Steven is 5 months old. He weighs 18 pounds and 26 and one-half inches tall. Although he is a very healthy child, Steven is overweight and falls well above the 95th percentile according to CDC standards. If Steven continues at this rate, he will continue to be overweight as he enters his toddler years and yearly childhood.

Steven is at the right age to start considering solid foods. However, he must meet his developmental milestones to determine if Steven is prepared to add variety to his diet. For instance, when babies are born they have something that is called protrusion reflex. It is a natural response that tells babies to suck when they want food. Because of this response, babies cannot consume food unless you give it to them through a nipple, (Feeding Your Infant, 2012). Between the age of 4 and 6 months this response will begin to subside. Although this is a good sign, Steven must hit other developmental milestones as well. This includes “being able to move tongue from side to side without moving his head…keep head upright and sit with little support”, (Brown, 2014, p. 239). Also he should be able to reach out, grab, and hold on to objects. If he is able to do this, Steven and other children with these developmental achievements, can start on solid foods.

When introducing new food to infants, parents should begin with spoon feeding them cereal. It may take a while for babies to catch on, so be patient. Sometimes it can take a while for a baby like Steven to get used to eating this way. Just start off feeding the infant a teaspoon at a time, first one teaspoon and then work your way up to two and then three and so on. You can do this once a day and then you can eventually start feeding the infant twice a day. However, you must remember, breast milk or formula will continue to be the main source of nutrition.

Between 6 to 9 months it is okay to start introducing infants to different foods other than cereal. “Texture should start as strained then advanced to smooth to mashed to chopped”, (Feeding Your Infant, 2012, p.4). It is good for babies to begin with fruits and vegetables. However, when you give it to them, introduce the foods just one item at a time. Allow your infant to get used to eating one food before you give them another. Although babies are just starting off with the food basics of fruits and vegetables, you will eventually lead your infant to eating high protein foods starting at 7 months. Until then, it isn’t recommended that infants eat meat. Some good meat substitutes for your infants include cottage cheese, yogurt, beans, peas or lentils, (Feeding Your Infant, 2012, p.5). These things are natural foods and because they are still babies, they are free from additives such as salt and sugar.

At 9 months to a year, babies are able to pick up things using their thumb and forefinger. Also, they will start to grow teeth. When Steven and other infants have reached these milestones it a good sign that he or she is ready for different kinds of foods. These are foods with different texture. This is a good time to introduce your infant to finger foods like crackers or toast. You can also give your baby soft foods that are chopped such as bananas or cook vegetables. However, it is important to be aware of allergies and stay aware from foods that these small bodies are not ready for. For instance, babies should not drink cow’s milk until they are one years old, (Feeding Your Infant, 2012). Also you should not feed them corn syrup or honey because it may have harmful bacteria that can be hard on the immature digestive system. Other foods that have potential allergies include “eggs, wheat, corn, beef, peanuts, seafood, potatoes, soy products, and oranges”, (Feeding your Infant, 2012, p. 2). When your baby is around 9 months of age it is okay to begin to introduce them to meat. It is important to consider food texture and how your infant may react. Introduce them to foods in the appropriate order starting with soft and strained foods then to the harder textures as the infant grows and develops.

Infants are able to get all of their nutrients from breastfeeding and formula during the first 6 months. This is because they have micronutrients stored in their body from the gestation period. Some of these nutrients include iron and zinc. At 6 months of age it is important that infants receive this nutrition from the solid foods they eat. This can be seen as “older infants receive iron through iron-fortified baby cereal at six months of age”, (Brown, 2014, p. 247). Other babies will receive iron if they are bottle fed or drink breast milk. Infant formula often include the valuable nutrients that babies need including zinc, and vitamin A and D. Many breastfeeding mothers take vitamin supplements to ensure their infants receive the important nutrition they need. Although eating solid foods, it is important that infants continue to maintain their diet of formula or breast milk to supplement their nutrition. Introducing to infants to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables helps to prepare them for good health and nutrition in the future. It not only helps them to achieve their developmental milestones but also prevent them from health risks associated with malnutrition and obesity.

 

 

References

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016). Childhood Nutrition. Retrieved from: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Childhood-Nutrition.aspx
  2. Brown, J.E. (2014). Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. Fifth Edition. Stamford, CT. Cenage Learning.
  3. Family and Consumer Science, Centsible Nutrition Program. (2012). Feeding your infant: A solid start. Retrieved from University of Whyoming website: http://familynutrition.ext.wvu.edu/r/download/144395
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Nutrition in Older Adults

As people grow older the human body will begin to experience changes that alter the role and effects of food and nutrition. This means that what you eat, or do not eat, can dramatically affect your health. Studies show that nutrition plays a vital role in modulating the changes that occur in the body after the age of 50. These include changes in the body’s composition, metabolism, and tissue function, (Danford, & Munro, p. 3) As a result, older adults will experience “the loss of skeletal muscle strength, mass, and quality”, (Brown, 2014, p. 36). Sometimes the body is able to try to combat this by gaining more body fat. When older adults eat very little, the body is receives little nutrition and is unable to gain fat needed for good health.  To better manage health and nutrition in old age, individuals must be aware of the changes that occur in the body and the importance nourishing foods.

It is normal to experience a reduced appetite during old age. This is due to sensory changes that affect different parts of the body. Loss of vision can make it hard to do many common things around the home and community such as cooking and shopping. Some hearing loss is natural, but most are surprised to learn that sense of taste and smell will also change. “If food doesn’t taste appetizing or smell appealing, we don’t want to eat it. If we must cut back on salt, sugar or fat, we may tend not to eat”, (Anderson & Prior, 2007). This helps to explain the loss of appetite and desire to eat the foods that were once enjoyable in older adults.

It’s important to be aware that the body will change in ways that go unnoticed. Aging affects the muscles, heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver, (Anderson & Prior, 2007). It also changes the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness such as a cold, the flu, or even pneumonia. Older adults are likely to be slower, due to a lack of energy that occurs from a slowed metabolism. For all these reasons, it is vital that aging bodies receive the nourishment it needs. It can help to change energy, mood, and overall health. To do this older adults must “eat more calcium, fiber, iron, protein and vitamins A, C and folacin”, (Anderson &* Prior, 2007).  It sounds like a lot of food for people with a low appetite however there are different things that can be done to make eating enjoyable.

Eating nutrient rich foods can be challenging for those on fixed income, which is true for older adults. This can make it difficult to budget for food costs along with bills and other expenses. The healthy and nutritious foods that people need are also the most expensive. Furthermore, it can be challenging to access local farmer’s market or quality grocers in the area due to old age. This causes difficulties in finding a good source of nutrition at an affordable price. In this way, “socioeconomic, psychological, ethnic, physiological, and pathological factors all influence dietary intake, interacting in a complex and intertwining manner”, (Brown, 2014, p. 305).

Below is a sample meal plan that can be used as a guide to ensure that older adults get the proper nutrients needed for good health. Included are some basic items that are both convenient and affordable. The meal plan is a 1600 calorie diet that is appropriate for the average height and weight of adult women over the age of 65.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Breakfast Cereal (1 cup, 124 cal, fiber)

Milk (1 cup, 103 cal, calcium)

Toast (1 slice, 64 cal, iron/fiber)

Orange Juice (1 cup, 40 cal, Vitimin A & C/protein)

Oatmeal (1 cup, 145 cal, fiber)

White Toast (1 slice, 64 cal, iron/fiber)

Fruit (1 cup, 65 cal, fiber)

Milk (1 cup, 103 cal, calcium)

Bagel w/cream cheese (1/2, 225 cal, calcium)

Watermelon (1 cup, 65 cal, fiber)

Milk (1 cup, 103 cal, calcium)

Yogurt (8 oz, 110 cal, calcium)

Banana (1, 105 cal, potassium)

Orange Juice (1 cup, 40 cal, Vitimin A & C/protein).

White Toast (1 slice, 64 cal, iron/fiber )

Scrambled eggs (2, 200 cal, protein)

Cheese (1 slice, 104 cal, calcium)

White Toast (1 slice, 64 cal, iron/fiber )

Milk (1 cup, 103 cal, calcium)

Lunch PB&J w/White bread (340 cal, protien)

Apple ( 40 cal, vitamin A &C/protein)

Milk (1 cup, 103 cal, calcium)

Egg salad w/White bread (220 cal, protein )

Fruit (1 cup, 65 cal, fiber)

Soft drink (12 oz, 160 cal, vitamin C)

Tuna (220 cal, protein/Omega 3)

Crackers (2 oz, 110 cal, vitamin E)

Banana ( 105 cal, potassium)

Soft drink (12 oz, 160 cal, vitamin C)

Turkey Sandwich (330 cal, protein/calcium/fiber)

Watermelon (1 cup, 65 cal, fiber)

Soft drink (12 oz, 160 cal, vitamin C)

Pea soup (1 cup, 160 cal, fiber/vitamin A)

w/Ham (3 oz, 100 cal, protein)

Toast (1 slice, 64)

Peach (1, 70 cal, fiber)

Snack Yogurt (8 oz, 110 cal, calcium) Potatoes chips (1 oz, 152 cal, vitamin E) Cottage cheese (1/2 cup, 110 cal, calcium)

Fruit (1 cup, 45 cal, fiber).

(3)Chocolate chip cookies (70 cal, Vitamin A/iron) Ice cream (1 cup, 140 cal, calcium)
Dinner Chicken (5 oz, 335 cal, protein)

Baked sweet potato (1 cup, 115 cal, calcium/potassium)

Steamed veggies (1 cup, 45 cal, Vitamin C/iron)

Salmon (5 oz, 295 cal, protein/Omega 3),

Brown rice (1 cup, 215 cal, calcium/ protein),

green beans, (1 cup, 31 cal, fiber)

Turkey (5 oz, 270 cal, protein),

Red beans (1 cup, 220 cal, protein/iron/vitamin C, fiber),

brown rice (1 cup, 215 cal, calcium/protein),

Pork chop (5 oz, 270 cal, protein),

Baked potato (140 cal, potassium/fiber )

Corn (2 oz, 60 cal, fiber)

Sausage (5 oz, 230 cal, protein)

Pasta (2/3 cup, 150 cal, fiber/iron)

Steamed veggies (1 cup, 45 cal, vitamin C/iron)

 

 

 

 References

  1.  Anderson, J. E., & Prior, S. U.S Dept of Agriculture, (2007). Nutrition and aging. Retrieved from Colorado State University website: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09322.html
  2. Brown, J.E. (2014). Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. Fifth Edition. Stamford, CT. Cenage Learning.
  3. Danford, D. E., & Munro, H. H. (2013). Human nutrition: Nutrition, aging, and the elderly. (3rd ed., Vol. 6). New York, NY: Plenum Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=t9UFCAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0
  4. Mueller, P.S., Hook, C.C., & Fleming, K. (2004). Ethical issues in geriatrics: A guide for clinicians. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 79(4), 554–562.

 

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The Truth About Food Stamps

SNAP and WIC are federally funded programs to help individuals and their families in an effort to prevent hunger and provide assistance to low income households. It allows low-income people to spend less money on food and more money on necessary resources. Most importantly, it ensures that families have the adequate nutrition they need. When individuals use WIC and SNAP to purchase foods at participating locations, grocery stores accept it as a form of payment. Although these programs are the same, they are distinctly different from each other using alternative measures to help families in poverty.

SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, “helps low-income people buy the food they need for good health”, (SNAP, 2014). With the food stamp program in place, it provides benefits and support for individuals who cannot afford to meet their nutritional needs. This includes individuals coping with homelessness or those on fixed incomes such as the disabled and elderly. It also serves those who are unemployed or working part-time. For individuals to meet the eligibility requirements, they must live well below the poverty line according to household number and income size. For instance, a single person household must receive a gross monthly income of $1,265 or less in order to become eligible, (SNAP, 2014). For every additional member of the household, the income requirement increases by $440. So, a household of two must generate an income of $1,705 or less to become eligible. Once requirements are met, households receive an allotted amount awarded monthly. “The amount of SNAP benefits you can get is based on the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan, which is an estimate of how much it cost to buy food to prepare”, (SNAP, 2014). They have estimated that individuals can receive a maximum of $194 and an additional $146 for each member of the household. For a household of 3, this family can receive a maximum of $511 in food stamp benefits.

WIC stands for Women Infants and Children. This program helps to “assist low-income families and their children to purchase healthy foods”, (Healthy Foods, 2014, p.1). To become eligible for WIC, applicants must be women, who are pregnant or have at least one child under the age of 5. They must also be considered low income and at a nutritional risk. To determine the risk requirement individuals must receive care by a healthcare professional to go through a pre-screening process. This is to determine if, “an individual has medical-based or dietary-based conditions”, (WIC, 2015). Those who are underweight, pregnant, or hold a poor diet may qualify. The income requirements for WIC however, are the same as those seen for SNAP. This means that individuals must live well below the poverty line. However, individuals who receive food stamp benefits automatically meet the income availability for WIC.

There are many benefits to SNAP.  It allows individuals to purchase any food item available at the grocer. This includes vegetables, spices, and also meat. However, they can also purchase snack foods like chips, frozen pizza, or a birthday cake. This puts little restrictions on what individuals can purchase. An additional benefit is the deductions program. Through the use of deductions, individuals who would not normally qualify for food stamps may become eligible. Furthermore, it allows individuals to receive more food stamps benefits by receiving the maximum amount allotted. This is done by, “subtracting deductions to determine net income and apply the net income test”, (SNAP, 2014).  Individuals can qualify for deductions such as 20% from their net income or those from large household size. Including individuals living in shelters, involved in child support, or even those with medical expenses can receive deductions to improve their benefit eligibility and requirement. An added benefit is that immigrants and other foreign nationals are also able to apply. To receive SNAP immigrants must have entered the country legally and “lived in the country 5 years, receive disability benefits, or have children under the age of 18”, (SNAP, 2014).

There great benefits and advantages to the WIC program as well. This is because there are limited residential requirements and restrictions. To become eligible “applicants are not required to live in the State or local service area for a certain amount of time”, (WIC, 2014). This suggests that immigration status or proof of residency may not apply. This can be helpful for legal and illegal residents as well as national citizens in need of assistance. It ensures that all women and their children have their nutritional needs met during the most important years of child’s development. Although SNAP may not provide enough assistance to support a growing family, WIC has the ability to do this. Unlike SNAP, the added benefit of the WIC program is that is applies to individuals across state boarders. Therefore they are not restricted to the State or territory in which their benefits can be used. They are not mandated to reapply in their participating state or lose their benefits due to relocating.

While individuals receiving SNAP always receive benefits through the use of an EBT card, WIC participants receive benefits using a check or voucher. This can prove to be a disadvantage for WIC recipients. These vouchers allow people to purchase “a list of foods”, (WIC, 2015). This indicates that individuals on WIC are unable to purchase any type or kind of food they want. Instead, they are restricted to certain foods they receive with their vouchers. These foods include those that are nutritious and healthy like milk, cereal, eggs, juice, and cheese. Furthermore, it also restricts the amount of food that can be purchased. The WIC voucher will state that the individual can only purchase 1 gallon of milk, or 2 boxes of cereal. This makes it difficult for WIC participants to receive the foods that they want versus the foods they need. This can be stressful for an individual who is allergic to dairy or have other dietary restrictions. An additional disadvantage is that WIC is only available to women and their children. In this case, the elderly do not qualify for WIC or individuals with no children. Although the elderly need additional calcium and protein which can be expensive, they are not provided these things through WIC.

However, disadvantages can also be observed in SNAP. For individuals to qualify they must live well below poverty. According to the SNAP, individuals must receive an income that is 100% to 130% below the poverty line. Although these individuals are in the most need of assistance, it does little help to support those who are just below 100%. For those suffering through financial strain and in need of assistance, they may not receive the help they need. This can be seen in two-parent households with children, those forced from work due to family illness or workman’s compensation. An added disadvantage is that individuals can only purchase prepared foods. Foods that are cooked are restricted from recipients. This can be harmful for individuals such as the elderly or disabled who can benefit from grilled chicken served hot and ready to eat.

Nutritional Needs throughout Life

Protein is a macronutrient that the body needs to stay healthy and fit. As observed in the chart, the protein recommendation steadily increases overtime. This is because protein helps the body to build and grow. It helps to generate muscle, tissue, and provide the body the adequate energy it needs, (Brown, 2014). This can be seen as infants require low recommendations of protein. As an older adult, he or she is required to consume as much as six times the protein they did before. This is much different when compared to calcium. Overall, the daily amount of calcium required remains the same. “Achieving an adequate intake of calcium during adolescence is crucial to physical growth and development”, (Brown, 2014, p. 372). It is also significant to older individuals to help them retain their bone mass and strength. Although the amount of calcium recommended is lower in the infant, once ready for school, the recommended calcium intake remains the same throughout the course of one’s lifetime.  However, Vitamin D recommendations changes through the course of life. As the Individual grows, the more vitamin D is required. This is especially seen during childhood. Once becoming a teenager the vitamin D recommendations stay the same until the late stages of life. Due to the essential role it plays in facilitating intestinal absorption, the human body does not require more Vitamin D as the body ages, (Brown, 2014).

Chart: Nutrient Needs throughout the Life Cycle

 Nutrients Age Groups and

RDAs/DR

Infants (7- month-old) Children (5- year-old male) Adolescent (15year-old male) Adult (32- year-old female) Elder (62 – year-old male)
Calories    650 kcal/day  1650 kcal/day  4,100kcal/day  2,273 kcal/day  3,480 k/day
Carbohydrates    73-106g  186-269g  461-666g  256-369g  392-566g
Protein    10g  16g  60g  45g  68g
Total Fat    18-25g  46-64g  114-159g  51-88g  77-135g
Iron    11mg-40mg  1-40mg  11-45mg  18-45mg  8g
Calcium    260-1,500mg  1,000-2,500mc  1,300-3,000mg  1,000-2,500mg  1,000-2,000
Vitamin D    10-38mcg  15-75mcg  15-100mcg  15-100mcg  15-100mcg
Folic Acid    80mcg  150-300mcg  400mcg  400-600mcg  400-600mcg

 

References

  1. Brown, J.E. (2014). Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. Fifth Edition. Stamford, CT. Cenage Learning.
  1. Food and Nutrition Services, (2014). Supplemental nutrition assistance program snap. Retrieved from United States Department of Agriculture website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility
  1. Food and Nutrition Services, (2015). Women infants and children wic. Retrieved from United States Department of Agriculture website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-eligibility-requirements
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How Talking about Race

Researchers from the University of Washington found that, “a large mass of data has been collected over the past 10+ years showing that roughly 70% of all Americans have an unconscious racial bias compared to only 20% who are consciously aware of it”, (Rosenberg, 2014). This is suggests that most of us are prone to saying things that are bias and stereotypical. Bias, stereotyping and discounting statements are harmful. It suggests that people are excluded, targeted, or prejudged based on the wrong assumptions. This can be observed in my personal experience. My Hispanic friend invited me and a few others to a small party at his house. I commented that I didn’t speak Spanish but would be excited to have home cooked Mexican food. Although the comments were light hearted and friendly, I made offensive, and stereotyping statements. Using inclusive language in my terms and statements can make someone feel isolated or excluded. The inclusive language used was cultural or social assumptions that reflect poor communication and cultural incompetence.  By reflecting on my personal experience of discounting and stereotyping communication, myself and others can learn to communicate respectfully. This can be seen by applying the Six-Step Communication Recovery Model and techniques for action without blame and guilt.

Stereotypes are, “the basis of implicit bias in categorization”, (Rosenberg, 2014).  This is when we categorize people through negative assumptions. It can be seen in the comments I made towards Hispanic and Mexican people. Categorizing all Latinos as Mexicans or all Latinos are Spanish speakers is an example of stereotypes. Not all Latinos are Mexican, Latinos represent a group of people from Spanish speaking countries throughout the Americas. This includes South and North American countries and Spanish islands such as Cuba and Puerto Rico. It is also a stereotype to categorize all Latino’s as Spanish speakers. Some countries in South America speak Portuguese such as Brazil. Furthermore, many Spanish families are assimilated to the country, their families living in the United States for generations. As many as 40% of Hispanics in the U.S do not speak Spanish, this includes Latino families throughout New, York, California and Texas. Stereotypes that myself and others hold is a negative reflection of the truth. Clumping people together in negative ways communicates negative stereotypes and statements, that may come off as offensive and discriminatory (Aguilar, 2006).

Author and researcher Leslie Aguliar defines bias as, “a predisposition to see things or people in a certain way”, (2006, p. 10). This can be either positive or negative. For instance, I have a predisposition to believe adult Hispanic men are hard workers and cheap laborers. Groups of men are posted outside Home Depot and other places, waiting for work. When someone needs a quick movers or a house painted, quick labor for cheap pay is easy to find. This is bias because it assumes that all Hispanics work physical jobs for low wage. It also suggests that Hispanics do not value the American workforce, the immigration system, and do not hold professional positions. When myself and others hold bias towards others, they are likely to make bias statements. This is because bias is based on assumptions. Aguliar states that, “people are naturally biased” and other researchers like Rosenberg agree, (2006, p. 18).  While most of society is unaware of their bias communication, it is something that must be addressed in a multicultural society. Inclusive language and stereotyping in communication often go ignored. Addressing bias and stereotypes make some people feel uncomfortable. Although, “implicit bias is a pervasive phenomenon… we can manage, influence, reshape and restrain it—if we can muster the will to confront it”, (Rosenberg, 2014).

How to Recover From Your Bias Comments

Aguilar describes a 6-Step Recovery Model to help individuals such as myself recover from bias or stereotypical statements and comments. This allows us to “rebuild communication with your listeners”, (Agular, 2006, p. 36). It is more than just apologizing and admitting that you are wrong. The model encourages individuals to learn from their mistakes. The first step in this model is to (1) accept feedback. He told me, next time they come to my place they better have some fried-chicken. He made another joke saying, he doesn’t talk Black, but maybe he can learn so he can flirt with my sister. I was able to accept the comments without becoming offensive or argumentative. Next, we are encouraged to (2) acknowledge intent and impact. I was able to do this when I explained that it was a mistake. By listening I was able to understand what I said was wrong. He did not speak Spanish and there was no Mexican food at the party, they served fried chicken and potato salad. Step (3) apologize; which I did. The following step is to (4) ask questions for clarification. I should have asked my friend why his family doesn’t speak Spanish, so I could get a better understanding of his culture and identity. His grandparents are from Mexico, they did not speak Spanish to their children or teach them the language. As Americans, they felt no need to use their foreign language in a English speaking country. Asking questions show that I am willing to learn and understand. Next, individuals must (5) adjust or change their statements or behavior. To change my statement, I should have replied by asking what they were serving at the party because Mexican food is my favorite. By rephrased the statement, it omits the need to offer a faulty explanation for faulty assumptions and cultural incompetence. Lastly it is important to (6) move forward. We should not dwell on past mistakes. Instead we must learn from it to overcome it. By practicing this model, myself and others can turn awkward situations of bias stereotypes into a learning experience about culture and individuality.

How to Speak Up About Race

To discourage bias and stereotypical statements and behaviors, individuals must learn to “speak up against bias without blame or guilt”, (Aguilar, 2006,). Aguilar offers different techniques that individuals can do to help others acknowledge their bias statements and practice respectful communications. This can be done by following the two examples: asking a question and seek contradictions. When I hear someone making assumptions that all Hispanics speak Spanish, I can ask “You ever meet a Hispanic who didn’t speak Spanish?” Asking this question can break assumptions about language barriers. Furthermore, breaking contradictions that people have is also a good technique. For instance, Jennifer Lopez is a popular Latina celebrity who does not know Spanish. Breaking this common contradiction can help others such as myself get rid of bias and stereotypes placed on others. Most importantly, individuals can teach respectful communication by practicing bias-free communication. This can be done by not only communicating respectfully around others but also modeling this behavior at home. Even if with family members or alone, it is important to also be culturally aware and practice cultural sensitivity. It can encourage people to limit bias communication and inclusive language found in others or in the media. Furthermore through other strategies like “respectful intention and positive word choice”, people can practice positive communication. It allows people to be thoughtful and to think through their words instead of speaking on impulse.

References

Aguilar, L. (2006). Ouch! That stereotype hurts: Communicating respectfully in a diverse world. The Walk The Talk Company, New York, NY.

Rosenberg, P. (2014). White rage and white lies: How the right’s language about race created

 

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