Since I recently faced different options for the birth of my son I decided to use this experience for my Photovoice Project. The pictures I have included are pictures from a book distributed at our Childbirth Preparation class. These pictures illustrate the different options in medical procedures an individual has when planning a hospital birth. The book outlines what it means to make decisions during birth, methods for induction, methods for fetal monitoring, methods for pain relief and further interventions if necessary.
When answering certain questions for this project I found I was able to answer:
- “How healthy IS it?”
- “What choice/s do I have?”
- “Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?”
As for how healthy the options for childbirth are I found that there were pros and cons for the different medical procedures available. Among the different options I was set on having a natural birth and if necessary an epidural was my choice for pain relief. I found that other pain relief methods would travel to my son and I didn’t want that. When it came to finally having my son I tried my very best to get through labor without any medications. I made it through 16 hours before finally giving into an epidural, but even when I had my epidural my son came and was perfect. Knowing the different choices and their different risks or affects truly aided in my birth planning. For myself, this book was extremely helpful in guiding my decisions in giving birth. It allowed me to feel prepared and be informed of the choices I could make. Overall, the book provided me with the information necessary to feel comfortable in making the decisions I thought best for my son and I in labor and delivery.
Birth planning and taking this class at the same time really opened my eyes to see or look at things differently as a consumer. I discovered that as a consumer I hold the cards of my own care. I realized that I control what goes in and out of my body, but with the right information I can make better-informed choices. I also found that I was setting the tone for my son’s health even before he was born by my food consumption as well as his experience in birth. Before taking this course I felt that I was not as informed or aware of my choices as a consumer. I wasn’t actively taking hold of my role as a consumer, but now after taking this class and after giving birth or creating a birth plan I feel empowered to make informed choices for my future health.
• After viewing the Department of Health’s website with regards to Death with Dignity I gathered a much better understanding of the Death with Dignity Act. Not only did I gather a more comprehensive definition of the Death with Dignity Act, but I pieced apart the terms “death” and “dignity”.
First, the Death with Dignity Act allows “terminally ill adults seeking to end their life to request lethal doses of medication from medical and osteopathic physicians. These terminally ill patients must be Washington residents who have less than six months to live”. This act was put in place to allow ill willed persons to end their misery and hurt from illness. The act particularly protects these individuals and allows them to die with “dignity”.
Secondly, the word “death” means the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism. The word “dignity” means the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect; self-respect. Together this means Death with Dignity refers to dying or ending life with the quality off respect for one self.
• After seeing the title, “Seattle Time’s piece on “selling” senior residents” I was intrigued. I wondered what it meant to “sell” senior residents and read further on what it meant. According to the article seniors who board in your home or a nursing home come with quite a grand ticket price. The article shows how highly profitable the market of senior residents can be. So, when the Seattle Time’s speaks on “selling” senior residents they mean the market for senior resident care is profitable and common in Washington.
• After browsing fda.gov I looked at unapproved drugs and then looked at what determines a drug is approved. According to fda.gov unapproved drugs are drugs marketed in the United States that do not have required FDA approval. So I then looked at how to determine whether a drug is approved or not. Fda.gov clearly explains the steps to take in order to search and clarify whether a drug is approved or not. You can determine whether a drug is approved or not by looking at Orange Book where you can search the trade name or active ingredients. You can also determine whether a drug is approved or not by looking at the National Drug Code Directory and Drugs@FDA. These search engines allow you to determine the approval or disapproval of a drug.
- In Americans love of snacking has spread far beyond the bag of chips introduces us to the idea and term of snacking. With regards to food the term snacking refers to the smaller intake of food by calories more frequently throughout the day. The article introduces the term snacking in context of our daily lives as a means of distracting ourselves. We snack when we take a quick second to look at social media, to read, to nap and so on. Snacking isn’t just something of a food term; rather it is term to describe our habits.
- In the PowerPoint, Pharmaceutical Industry & Consumers, DTC ads are introduced. DTC ads stand for direct-to-consumer advertising or advertisement. These types of ads are used to relay the need for certain pharmaceuticals to cure suffering patients. These types of ads aim to target vulnerable audiences and sway them to buy into pharmaceuticals marketed to “heal” them.
See: Pharmaceutical Industry & Consumers PowerPoint
- In the PowerPoint, Dietary Guidelines and Sugar Slides, products known to be GRAS are introduced. GRAS stands for generally recognized as safe. Products categorized this way are typically considered safe for consumption. According to fda.gov GRAS is defined as the acronym generally recognized as safe. The FDA refers GRAS to products or substances that are “intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excepted from the definition of a food additive”.
See: Dietary Guidelines and Sugar Slides
DTC ads are used in New Zealand and the United States. Direct-to-consumer advertising is used to inform patients who are already suffering from disease and raises awareness of treatment options. While DTC ads intend to serve a great purpose, the reliability and credibility of these ads is questionable. These ads are driven to influence choice rather than inform patients. Therefore, these ads relay information that pushes patients to favor the use of these drugs. For example, patients see advertisements on television regarding psoriasis and a treatable medicine for it. A suffering patient may then go to their doctor and deliberately ask for that medicine by name. When this happens these patients aren’t considering the risk factors that may come with the drug because of the claims suggested by the DTC ad. All of which is something I think needs to change. When I sometimes hear these ads I do engage, as I am a patient suffering from psoriasis. However, I am not influenced by my decision to medicate in order to “cure” it. DTC ads target the vulnerable and ill informed. I feel that this practice should be modified because it is false advertising. As for coming up with an acceptable public health solution I think we all play a part. Doctors should further inform these suffering patients, patients should acquire information about the drug before jumping the gun, drug or pharmaceutical companies should be focused on helping suffering individuals not profiting on them and society as a whole needs to be better about producing advertisements that don’t speak to its individuals as vulnerable consumers.
After visiting the Washington state’s agency website I was a bit overwhelmed with how much information and resources are available. As an uninformed consumer I found that the Latest News regarding Aging and Long-Term Support Administration helpful because it is important to know current news in order to make the best and informed decisions for their loved ones. The navigation through the website is also very helpful because if you have particular questions regarding something in specific you can find a direct link to it. After the Latest News it jumps right into What We Do, which I think is a great way to elude into the next information most important to consumers to make informed decisions. Though I think the Latest News section is helpful, it could very well be less helpful and lead to more questions. However, there are hyperlinks attached to everything that one may wonder. I would suggest people to look further at these links.11
After reading Americans’ love of snacks has spread far beyond that bag of chips the definition of snacking is more than just a term used for food. According to this article the term snacking refers to not only our consumption of light eating, but also our consumption of light breaking of social media, reading, or distracting us from necessary things to be done. The information is not so much concerning, but it is definitely an eye-opening concept that expands our understanding of snacking. If people were less well informed than me they would probably argue that snacking is better than eating large meals, which happens to be a misconception of snacking. Though this argument is obviously not valid as snacking leads us to intake less calories in small intervals and metabolize it quickly.
After reading Obesity and Other Health Concerns Lead Food Companies to Step Up Health and Nutrient Claims it is shocking to only now know how and why a “healthy lifestyle” is marketed. As a consumer this information is important to know and consider because we make choices every day that are influenced by labels and marketing. As the article explains there are numerous regulations to food labeling and what comes with those regulations. Since these regulations are implemented more and more companies are capitalizing on the regulations by mentioning things like organic, vegan, etc. regardless of the amount that product truly contains. We live in a health craze society and things like this make it easy for us to simply select certain foods by just labels. For the less well informed they may argue that companies have to include everything on labels, which is absolutely true. Though the danger in this argument is that companies are required to include all a products contents even the slightest amount. So when you see “organic” or “less calories” or any other labels plastered on the front of a product, how much that product adheres to this label could be a tiniest amount.
After reading Poll says majority of Americans support menu labeling it is quite surprising that more than 50% of people want to have their meals or food labeled in restaurants. I find this more surprising for fast food restaurants than other types of restaurants because fast food is just that, FAST FOOD. The expectation of their food is obviously greater in calories than others. However, it is good to allow consumers to make informed choices of which meal is better off for them than others by disclosing all information. For the less informed I would expect the argument that we are better off having menu labels than not having them. I would expect that some consumers would be surprised with the amount of people who prefer labels to not.
After looking over several resources I found that in financial health and decision-making it is critical to be informed. When we are informed of our choices in their entirety it aids in our ability to make the best choice we see fit in making our final decision. Often times we are bombarded with so much information that is not necessarily so easy to understand especially as a student. It is comforting to know that President Barack Obama’s Presidential Memorandum on Student Aid Bill of Rights puts in place resources and clauses that will better the outcome of students in debt. This not only gives me hope and comfort as a student, but also as a consumer. Now this is only speaking from a student’s experience, but I think there is still a vast amount of work needed to be done by policy makers and consumers in order to solve this loss of communication or understanding in debt. Policy makers need to improve their ability and ways of communicating debt and borrowing policies. In turn consumers also need to be able to understand the language of policy makers in order to improve their ability in making financial health and other life decisions.
Being a mum-to-be I look closely at details when it comes to my unborn child. I look at safety and hazardous precautions as much as I can, given what is provided to me through labels and constant googling of things. In some way this to me confirms that people planning families are vulnerable to those selling them unneeded or unsafe stuff. For example, when I looked for best bottle recommendations or stroller recommendations you get a list of many. You find that some of the products are safe and some provide labels that are just beyond confusing to understand. So where does that leave you as a consumer? You then continue the search for every little thing on that label to ensure it is in fact safe and by the time you exalt all that energy into looking at every little speck on that label you finally just give in because well everyone is doing it. You see parents following the trends of what they see in the media or of others that surround them. You hope that people near and dear to them would give them great reviews of what are good and safe products, but those parents only know just as much if not a bit more than you because they’ve actually used the product. More and more products today are reaching the surface, but aren’t completely necessary; actually a lot are. In fact, I have come across many articles that find many products listed on registries unnecessary. In this society stuck in a media craze families are the most vulnerable audience to speak to because parents will do anything and everything to provide the best for their families. Even if that means getting them 20 different bottle sets, 3 different strollers, 2 types of car seats, 7 different pacifiers, 1 rocker, a bouncer and just about anything else you could imagine. Parents want to know that no matter what their child has it will be the best option in safety, preference and aesthetics. They want to know that they are giving their child the options while providing them what they think is the best in safety.
In the Overview of Nutrition PowerPoint the term eating patterns is used to describe food choices. After closely examining and considering the different aspects that go into eating patterns my understanding of the term is not solely dependent on what one person simply wants to eat. Eating patterns include preference, habit or tradition, social pressure, availability, convenience, economy, emotional needs, values or beliefs, attitudes, nutritional value and outside incentives.
Again in the Overview of Nutrition PowerPoint the term food culture is introduced. I was a bit confused with the term and considered the terms independently. Foods meaning any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth. Then culture meaning the ways we believe, act and think. Together, my interpretation of the term food culture refers to the way we believe, act or think about any nutritious substance that people, animals and plants eat or drink in order to maintain life and growth. Simply put, food culture refers to the way we think, believe or act in regards to food.
In the same powerpoint, Overview of Nutrition, the term portion distortion is used. The term is followed by the question, “How much BIGGER are we eating?” which led me to think about what portion distortion meant. Individually, portion, refers to a helping, fraction or divide. Then distortion refers to misrepresentation or bend. Together, my interpretation of the term portion distortion would then mean the misrepresentation of a helping with regards to food. Basically, in this way our vision of what is an adequate serving or helping size does not accurately reflect what is healthy.