Reducing Obesity through Policy

Obesity affects as many as 30% of the population and associated with a variety of comorbid conditions. It remains a contributing factor to hypertension, diabetes, mellitus, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and sleep disorders, (Weintraub et al, 2011). This causes increased concern for public health. It attributes to high medical costs in a number of fields and areas. Studies suggest that by the year 2030 medical costs related to obesity will rise above $1 trillion, (Weigntraub et al, 2011). However, the dynamics of obesity is complex and multi-layered. It is related to many facets of society including nutrition, environment, education, and community. This can be observed in low costs of high calorie foods, limited access to recreation, and reduced options in underserved areas. For this reason, there is a growing concern to reduce obesity. Help from the state and district representatives are required to ensure the good health of the communities they serve. The most effective way to attack this problem is to apply government policy and community partnership. Enacting, the Community Health Initiative for Promoting Exercise and Nutrition (CHIPEN), will provide policies and programs, education, taxation, and environmental infrastructure to improve public health and reduce obesity.

Strategy, Message, Recommendations

To ensure long term success, assistance from local and state government is needed for community action. This can only be accomplished through change in policy to provide incentive programs and improve community infrastructure. The suggested policy is called, Community Health Initiative for Promoting Exercise and Nutrition, CHIPEN.  The initiative is created to improve health, one community at a time. It is multi-layered to work in coordination and partnership with nongovernment institutions. The message and recommendation is to use a variety of environments in collaboration to improve public health. The aim is to reduce the rate of obesity from 30% to 20% by the year 2020.

To promote nutrition, policies must be created under CHIPEN to discourage unhealthy foods and encourage the consumption of healthy foods.  This can be done by, “food policies to reduce obesity: altering relative food prices, shifting our exposure to food, and improving the image of healthy food while making unhealthy food unattractive”, (Frieden, Dietz, & Collins, 2010). There are many ways to achieve this. This includes increased taxes on sugary drinks which accounts for the significant rise in obesity. Policies like this are currently in place in various cities across the state including San Francisco and Berkeley. Additional avenues are to promote fruits and vegetables through community based programs and incentives. Vouchers will be provided to Women Infants and Children’s, Special Supplemental Nutrition programs and Food Stamps. To ensure these families have access to healthy foods, grocers and corner stores must be improved. This includes creating community gardens, incentive programs for health food stores to build in underserved communities, and farmers markets.

However, stimulating health through improved nutrition is also aimed at high calorie food.  CHIPEN involves community zoning. Zoning restrictions will be applied to fast food establishments that can distance locations from high risk communities, schools, and residential areas.  Zoning will also be applied to public schools to restrict high calorie foods from the cafeteria. In conjunction with counter advertisement, the image of unhealthy foods will educate the public of its harmful agents. The public will be less tempted to consume foods that encourage obesity. In this way, these “polices improve market competitive and promote more consumption of fruits and vegetables”, (Frieden, Dietz, & Collins, 2010).

Supporting evidence

There is significant supporting evidence by researchers and organizations to reduce obesity and improve public health. Representatives of the American Heart Association developed a policy statement for recommendations to prevent cardiovascular disease often related to obesity. They indicate the “primary prevention is an environmental model that maintains that an individual’s behavior is influenced by his or her surrounding physical, social, and cultural environments… workplaces, schools, homes, and communities”, (Weintraub et al, 2011). Other associations to combat obesity include city and county programs. Thus, by providing policy that incorporates various influences associated with obesity it improves the objective of policy initiatives.

Taxation on unhealthy foods and beverages is proven to raise billions per year for the state (Salis et al, 2012). A study conducted by the Journal of Health Affairs found that, “taxes would reduce average per capita consumption by 8,000 calories annually, potentially preventing about 2.3 pounds per year of weight gain” (Frieden, Dietz, & Collins, 2010). Pennsylvania was one of the first states to create a program improving access to healthy food options in underserved communities. This community created 5000 new jobs and $190 million annually in revenue by building health food stores in these areas, (Weintraub et al, 2011). They further renovated existing stores and developed a partnership with businesses to market and promote reduced priced produce. It more than quadrupled the initial government investment of $30 million. Reducing prices of low-fat items has proven to increase the purchase and consumption of healthy goods. This was seen even when reducing produce price by 10%, (Chan & Woo, 2010).

Improving community infrastructure has also shown to promote physical activity and recreation, thus curbing the rate of obesity. “A study … found that for every $1 invested in building (walking) trails, nearly $3 in medical cost savings may be achieved”, (Weintraub et al, 2011). Additional studies conducted by the Urban Institute found that investing $10 per person in community based prevention programs saves the country $16 billion annually for 5 years, (Weintraub et al, 2011). Suggested examples include improving current parks and recreation facilities to promote activity. This is seen as many underserved communities have limited access or desire to use parks and recreation centers due to distance, safety, and infrastructure. From creating bike trails to updating and innovating community parks, individuals will have access and resources to move. Other programs have shown positive results to improve physical activity. Federal funded program, Safe Routes to School, promoted safe and active commuting to school improving walking by 64% and biking by 114%, (Foltz et al, 2012).

Impact and Importance

Various organizations in health have shown interest in this problem and addressed ways to curb the obesity epidemic. This has the potential to reduce healthcare costs and improve the overall health of communities across the nation. Organizations including, “the US Preventive Health Services Task Force and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respectively have evaluated the evidence for the effectiveness of preventive services”, (Weintraub et al, 2011). These organizations have conducted researched and collected evidence for recommendation. The American Heart Association recommends this be addressed as a policy strategy to make obesity prevention a priority. Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association recommend targeting the context of daily lives. It includes recreation, transportation, built environments, schools, and worksites to improve physical activity, (Sallis, Floyd, Rodriguez, & Saelens, 2012).

Conclusion

Policy provides laws to regulate government, corporate, health, and educational practices. Thus, it is the responsibility of government representatives to hear, process, and generate legislature to maintain the health of society. Obesity continues to be a growing problem of concern. It has generated attention from high profile people such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, physicians, health organizations, and the general public. To sustain public health and the security of future generations, policies must be enacted. This includes to improve the health of individuals and families, social equality, and the American economy. Obesity and the health complications associated with it are preventable and reversible. Its enactment will reduce health care costs and improve the overall quality of life. Not only does it improve health it is also cost effective. AHA policy statement “suggest that public policy, community efforts, and pharmacological interventions are likely to be cost-effective and often cost saving compared with common bench marks”, (Weintraub et al, 2011). This only substantiates the need and effectiveness of combination intervention strategies as observed in CHIPEN. With the involvement of school, community, government, health, and organizational institutions, it can substantially slow the epidemic of obesity in the United States to 20% by 2020.

 

References

  1. Chan, R., & Woo, J. (2010). Prevention of overweight and obesity: How effective is the current public health approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(3), 765-83. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/7/3/765/htm

 

  1. Foltz, J., May, A., Belay, B., Nihiser, A., Dooyema, C., & Blanck, H. (2012). Publication-level intervention strategies and examples for obesity prevention in children. The Annual Review of Nutrition, 3(2), 391-415. Retrieved from http://www.genhkids.org/Downloads/Obesity Prevention Strategies – Peer Reviewed.pdf

 

  1. Frieden, T., Dietz, W., & Collins, J. (2010). Reducing childhood obesity through policy change: Acting now to prevent obesity. Journal of Health Affiars, 29(3), 357-63. Retrieved from http://w.banpac.org/pdfs/sfs/2010/reduc_child_obes_11_04_10.pdf

 

  1. Sallis, J., Floyd, M., Rodriguez, D., & Saelens, B. (2012). Recent advances in preventive cardiology and lifestyle medicine. Circulation, 12(5), 729-37. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/125/5/729.full

 

  1. Weintraub, W., Daniels, S., Burke, L., Franklin, B., Goff, D., Hayman, L., Lloyd-Jones, D., & Pandey, D. (2011). American heart association policy statement. Circulation, 12(4), 967-90. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/124/8/967.long
Advertisements
Posted in Social Science | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Science, Social Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Social Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment