All posts by kelsey

Photovoice: Final Project

I went throughout the town of Ellensburg, WA looking for alcohol advertisements that enticed me to either purchase a drink or a bottle. As a college student, I do happen to have my fair share of times when I am a consumer of different types of alcohol. I also do fall victim to the creative advertising that the bars, taverns and restaurants around town have. These places base their “happy” hour around alcohol, and what they claim to be “cheap drinks.” When you think about it, they really aren’t. How healthy IS it? Well, to break it to you simply, alcohol just is not healthy in general. The goal of happy hour is to make you believe that alcohol will make you happier, and that happiness leads to a healthy life. When, alcohol is actually a depressant and truly doesn’t make you happier at all. The choices we have are endless, which makes it even harder as a consumer to say no. If you don’t like wine, well maybe you’ll like beer and if you don’t like tequila, well maybe you’ll like vodka etc. I think a part of the problem is the giant selection of alcohol. Without all those choices there may be less people to drink and purchase the products. Another reason why it is so easy to choose alcohol over other items is the pricing compared to healthier drinks. A 16oz Kombucha, a very well know health drink, costs almost as much as an entire bottle of wine and is just a little less than half the price of a half-gallon of vodka. Why would someone purchase the Kombucha to clench their thirst when a bottle of wine is almost as cheap and can clench their thirst more than just once? This makes it clear to me that these restaurants and stores have the upper hand on the consumers. Their skills for advertising and selling such an unhealthy product is outstanding. Most people, including health conscious people, understand consuming alcohol can be detrimental to their health yet, continue to drink it. The alcohol industry and those who purchase it are not going anywhere, so I do not see a change coming anytime soon.

Taking these photos and describing exactly what I saw behind the scenes lead me to how I am feeling now. As a consumer, it will be challenging for me to purchase alcohol going forward. I have an interest and great knowledge in health and know that it is not healthy. And with my information as a consumer, I know that alcohol offers no benefit to me if purchased. The alcohol business is all about money and buying and selling. With the lack of benefit all types of alcohol offer, it is shocking that this industry is still one of the largest and wealthiest trades. With my knowledge from this course I was able to take a step back and look at what consumers see as well as what the producers are thinking behind the scene. This gave me the ability to acknowledge both sides and produce a more honest PowerPoint with captions to my photos. If someone were to be exposed to this post, they would be able to see the other side of things as well. It may help them to think twice before purchasing alcoholic beverages or participating in a happy hour. Or, possibly they will try to recreate a project like this of their own. That would help them to get behind the scenes on their own and truly see how marketing can impact what consumers view as “healthy” or attractive. For the general public, could help them to not only be more aware of alcohol advertising but other marketing schemes as well. My project could offer the public more awareness of how we are tricked into purchasing items we really should not.

Photovoice project

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Glossary Building 5

Throughout the last few months, this course has acted as an insider view of a business class. I have learned many tricks of the trade in businesses and how companies can get around certain things. A good example of this it the term “greenwashing,” were companies claim to be green and practice bettering the environment when in reality, they are not. It is truly all a marketing scheme to make money and scam consumers. After my research throughout the quarter, I came across a few confusing terms I wanted to add to the glossary. One of the many that came up was particularly confusing. This word was forecast, which in my head deals strictly with weather. The two other terms I deemed necessary for my glossary are, depreciation and equity. These seem to be terminologies I see in the business world as well as everyday life that I think people should become familiar with.

Once I gained more knowledge about the business world and felt myself become a bit more comfortable with what I was learning, the terminology became easier to understand. When I first saw “forecast” being used in an article, my brain quickly assumed the author was talking about the weather for the upcoming week. Come to find out, that is a popular business termed used very frequently by companies managing for the future. This term is a planning tool that helps administer coping methods for businesses dealing with the uncertainty of the future. Forecasting relies on data from the past and present trends within the company. The next word, depreciation means a decrease in value. It is often difficult to understand and I still do not have a full grasp on the meaning quite yet. Depreciation is an accounting method used for observing assets and their value. It can also be used to allocate the number of costs a company has to spend. And lastly, I would like to talk about equity. This is another term I see used a lot that I am not totally confident in the definition. In the public health world, I am somewhat familiar with what equity means however, I know, much like forecast, it takes on a whole new definition in the business world. Equity means ownership or holding stock within a company. To explain this simply, it is the amount of money you will receive after selling your company and paying back all debts that are owed. In other words, it is how much money invested belongs to you. I think a lot of the words used in the business world can get very confusing, and some intertwine with others. We have seen that directly with forecast and equity. If I had not done research of my own, I would have gotten a very different understanding of the articles using those terms. It is very important to expand your vocabulary knowledge to understand other areas of information.

 

Definitions

Forecast: Forecasting is the use of historic data to determine the direction of future trends.

Depreciation: Depreciation is an accounting method of allocating the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life.

Equity: Ownership interest or claim of a holder of common stock (ordinary shares) and some types of preferred stock (preference shares) of a company.

Greenwashing Prompt and Response

Prompt: In your own words, define what greenwashing means. Thinking back, have you ever purchased something you believed was helping the environment that you later found out was not? Explain what you think would be a better alternative to this item that could actually help the environment.

Answer: Greenwashing is a term that is used when a company promotes green living, or environmentally friendly products and practices however, does not actually help the environment in any way (Staff, 2007). This is something I was not aware of until this quarter where I briefly learned about it in another class. Ethically speaking, this is so wrong. In my opinion, companies should be true to what they preach and produce. I do not think it is fair to lie to consumers and customers about anything regarding the company. It is concerning that greenwashing is allowed, or that any dishonesty is legal.

I am, or was, a huge supporter of Simple Green products. My mom has bought them for awhile and I starter to purchase them to clean my own home once I moved out. Come to find out, Simple Green is simply not green or environmentally friendly as they claim. The company states their products are “non-toxic” and “biodegradable” however, they are full of toxic chemicals harmful to not only the earth but humans as well (Michael, 2015). One of the ingredients used irritates eyes and damages red blood cells if absorbed through the skin, which is easy to do when cleaning with your hands (Michael, 2015). The ingredients are not specific in the colors use in this product, which is why it scores an F on EWG’s website (Simple Green, 2017). It has also been noted that certain components of the products may lead to cancer (Simple Green, 2017). With all of this knowledge I am now aware of, I will not be purchasing these products any longer.

 

Works Cited

Michael, P. (2015, November 25). 8 Green Products That Aren’t. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from http://www.wisebread.com/8-green-products-that-arent

Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner Cleaner Rating. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/1545-SimpleGreenConcentratedAllPurposeCleaner#.WhtebbHMzVo

Staff, I. (2007, November 07). Greenwashing. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/greenwashing.asp

First Part: Photovoice

I will be discussing the advertisement and glorification of alcohol consumption. Especially in college towns, much like Ellensburg, people have an idea that excess alcohol is an appropriate thing to do. I would like to focus on not just college student as consumers but, mothers, fathers, young 21 year olds, and even the older generation. I will be posting a powerpoint providing photos and different ads I come across in everyday life. My plan is to answer the following questions…

  • “How healthy IS it?”
  • “What choice/s do I have?”
  • “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?”
  • “Who has the upper hand and how?”

Glossary Building 4

After learning about Direct-to-consumer ads, I came across a few terms I decided would be useful to add to my vocabulary list. Marketing and advertising are huge industries in the United States. Our nation brings in enormous amounts of money from advertising alone. I think it is super important to be educated in certain areas to protect consumer health. A lot of times we can be drawn in by marketing schemes to believe we need specific products and items. I know for a fact, I have purchased items because an ad lead me to think I needed it. Some of the terminologies people should be familiar with are: market segmentation, mass media, and consumer advertising.

It was difficult for me to research and learn about DTC ads because I do not have a business centered mind. A lot of the words in the articles I read were challenging to understand and grasp. Which is one of the main reasons I decided to add them to my glossary. The first one, market segmentation, is a process of creating subdivisions within large similar populations. These subpopulations have similar needs, wants and demands. This practice is designed to identify the expectations of customers. Mass media, another important term to be familiar with, is any type of communication that reaches enormous amounts of people in the hopes of returning some profit. This can be seen or heard on television, in the paper, and even on the radio. Today there are numerous places media can reach mass populations. We have so many different social media platforms as well as millions of websites where advertisements can be seen. There is a very small population that never will see an advertisement. Lastly, the term consumer advertising is another imperative expression to understand. The definition of this explains that it is a marketing strategy directly aimed towards specific populations. Products and services are provided and advertised to the public that is most likely to use them. For example, diaper companies aim their ads towards new mothers who believe they need to purchase that diaper. With the knowledge of these definitions, consumers can better protect themselves from falling into the trap of believing advertisements.

 

Definitions

Market segmentation: The process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants, or demand characteristics.

Mass media: any of the means of communication, as television or newspapers, that reach very large numbers of people.

Consumer advertising: The activity of making products or services known to the public and persuading people to buy them.

The Danger of DTC Ads

DTC ads are direct-to-consumer advertisements. This means that these ads are strictly directed to the consumers that will likely be purchasing whatever is being marketed out to the public. Unfortunately, the United States is one of the TWO countries that allow this practice to be legal. New Zealand also allows DTC ads on television and in print. I think it is very clear that we should be thinking about new laws to be put in place for stricter regulations regarding these ads.

Advertisements will often lie about small details to get the attention of specific subpopulations to get them to purchase what is being advertised. An example of this is a TV commercial introduced a well-respected doctor who takes an anti-cholesterol drug called Lipitor. He claims that this drug helps to keep his heart healthy so that he could be active to participate in the things he enjoys, such as rowing a boat (much like the one in the commercial). It turns out, he was not a doctor and could not prescribe any medications legally, he also never actually rowed the boat himself in the commercial (Direct-to-consumer, 2009). Ads on television and in print must have a summary as well as a list of side effects. TV ads can legally include only the most important risks, as long as they provide how consumers can get more information. A lot of important things regarding these drugs are allowed to be left out of advertisements. This is so that consumers will go to their doctors believing they should be prescribed this specific drug without doing any research on it. If all the best data is provided to you in an ad you are not likely going to investigate more about it.

Direct to consumer advertisements are all about money and creating a large profit margin for drug companies. This industry spent almost $5 billion in the last year alone (Direct-to-consumer, 2009). The article Direct-to-consumer Advertising Under Fire claims that, “Surveys carried out in New Zealand and in the USA show that when a patient asks for a specific drug by name they receive it more often than not” (Direct-to-consumer, 2009). This clearly demonstrates further that this industry cares only about money and making a profit. In the year 2000, the industry made a revenue of $2.6 billion in sales. There was a study in 1999 which discovered that after seeing a DTC ad, one out of three people asked about a drug and one out of five asked for a prescription to a drug (Pearson, 2015-2016). It is a huge problem knowing that the main drive for DTC ads are to bring in money regardless of what happens to the health of the consumers.

We know that these ads convince consumers they need specific drugs and causes them to pressure their doctors into prescribing it to them. There is a huge fear that, “advertising drugs directly to consumers could be harmful. Both the drug companies and the doctors worry that even though consumers can’t really evaluate whether or not a drug is appropriate, they might become convinced by an ad” (Spiegel, 2009). It is extremely important to realize that even doctors are fearing for the health of consumers yet also feel pressured the prescribe them with specific drugs they request. Consumers are getting their information from a 60 second commercial that only offers the best things about the drug. These DTC ads are ruining doctor patient relationships and taking the control away from doctors to provide what they believe the be an appropriate prescription. This is something very critical to think about. The health of consumers should come first rather than money. Money is the most important thing for many parts of our government regulations, which needs to change as soon as possible.

With all this information, I think it would be very reasonable to approach the government and ask for this law to be reversed and terminated. It is also a very strange thing that the United States is one of the only two countries that allow DTC ads. Although these bring in a large amount of money for the pharmaceutical industry, I think it puts more stress on the health of consumers as well as the practice of doctors. If we continue down this road, we could be looking at more long term health effects and prescription drug addiction because these ads cause consumers to believe they are the only option for them. Reversing the legality of DTC ads or putting stricter regulations on them is extremely important for the health of our nation.

Works Cited

Direct-to-consumer advertising under fire. (2009, August). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/8/09-040809/en/

Pearson, R. (2015-2016). Pharmaceutical Industry & Consumers. Lecture.

Spiegel, A. (2009, October 13). Selling Sickness: How Drug Ads Changed Health Care. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113675737#mainContent

Long-term Care for Loved Ones

I discovered a website created by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to be extremely helpful when looking for health care. Almost all the information someone would be looking for can be found here. It is a decently short one paged website with many links to different pages that are useful as well, providing extra information one is looking for. DSHS cuts straight to the point, with no extra’s that tend to confuse consumers. The links are provided so that if a certain facility sparks one’s interest, they can travel to the cite and learn more about it.

When I first entered this page, it clearly stated that people using state funds (Medicaid) to pay for their care need to be looking for facilities licensed by Washington state that accepts Medicaid payments. Under that is a list of long-term care state license facilities and non-state licensed facilities. DSHS describes more in detail nursing homes, adult family homes, assisted living facilities and the non-state licensed facilities which include, retirement communities/independent living and continuing care retirement facilities.

I would suggest this as a place to start for those who are looking at facilities to send their loved ones for extra care. This offers important information as well as the important links that lead to more extensive information. DSHS provides an exceptional place to start when beginning this research process for the elderly in your life. It is clear that not everything is provided, and more research will need to be conducted however, the information is true and pure as well as extremely helpful for families.

Glossary Building 3

This week we talked a lot about food and certain aspects of nutrition. I was reading through the material that Dr. Pearson provided to us, as well as finding some interesting articles of my own. I am such a foodie myself that I found this topic extremely interesting. I have been reading nutrition blogs for quite some time now and it is amazing to see all the different opinions people have. The even stranger thing is that each opinion is backed up by different scientific facts.

I decided that I wanted to find specific words many people see on a daily basis but likely are not aware of the definition. Throughout my readings I found three that I thought should be brought to peoples attention. Those three are: hydrogenated, micronutrients and protein quality. I am going to do my best to explain these words in my own understanding without the tricky language a dictionary often provides. Hydrogenated is a fancy term for adding hydrogen to something. In the food world, many oils are hydrogenated which helps make them a solid so that they are more shelf stable. In other words, stay away from hydrogenated oils!! Now, since it is all the rave right now, I am fairly certain many of you have heard of the term macronutrients. A lot of people have decided that it is a good idea to start counting “Macros” as a new diet fad. But the more important term, in my opinion, is micronutrients. These are the tiny vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function. They are called “micro” nutrients because our bodies need them in such small amounts that it is hard to see. However, they are extremely vital to our health. And lastly, lets talk about protein quality. This is basically exactly what it sounds like, the quality of a certain protein. And no, I’m not going to discuss certain protein powders to consume after your workout. A food with high protein quality just determines how bioavailable it is, how well your body will absorb the nutrients. A great example of this is eggs. Eggs have a high bioavailability and also a high protein quality, our bodies tend to absorb them very well. Now that we have a basic understanding of these terms, let look at how the dictionary defines them.

Definitions:

Hydrogenated: to combine or treat with hydrogen, especially to add hydrogen to themolecule of (an unsaturated organic compound).

Micronutrients: an essential nutrient, as a trace mineral or vitamin, that is requiredby an organism in minute amounts.

Protein quality: the digestibility and quantity of essential amino acids for providing the proteins in correct ratios for human consumption.

Is Moderation Key?

I was shocked after reading this article. The opinions presented in this were very different from what I am currently taught in class. Jonathan Ross, the man who wrote this post, talked about how everything in moderation is not the answer and does not work. However, my professors preach almost the exact opposite.

For those who do not know, I am a nutrition major going into my last quarter of my bachelor’s degree. A specific professor sticks out to me. I remember her saying, “yeah sure, my guilty pleasure is nachos. But I don’t eat them every day. Moderation is key you guys.” And this spoke to me. Ross explains that those who practice moderation eat one treat each day. In that sense, yes of course moderation would not work because that is not what the moderation nutrition professionals speak of.

I can’t say that I see myself in this type of moderation. I eat generally very healthy foods, and try to include my greens into at least one meal a day. I pay attention to what I am putting into my body and how I feel after eating specific meals. However, if I would like to have a bagel for breakfast or a coffee with my lunch I will do so. I must mention that while doing this, I do not go overboard on the cream cheese and I’ll ask for a little less caramel in my Americano. That way I am still very attentive to the food I am consuming even if I did indulge on those things. The moderation Ross speaks of would not allow of this. If your friends ask you to go out and get appetizers are you not going to go because you already had a coffee that week?

This is where I disagree with his idea of “everything in moderation doesn’t work.” As an ‘almost’ nutrition professional myself, I think it is essential that we teach people to listen to their bodies rather than an outsider who does not know how their insides feel. If you order fries for your appetizer, just stop eating them when you become full and take them home in a box for another day, or for your roommate to eat. You do not need to finish them off. Also, just pay attention to the fact that you ate fries and maybe have a green salad with lots of veggies and chicken for dinner instead of another highly caloric meal.

I don’t feel like my practice of moderation is increasing my risk of chronic diseases what so ever. I think I am very aware of my body and very aware of that fact that what I put into my body will either impact me positively or negatively. As we know, harmful foods do not make the body feel refreshed and healthy, but rather sluggish and sick. A helpful tip to give people is to recognize how certain foods make them feel and how moods are impacted by food. That is what I would tell a consumer, rather than scare them into believing that eating a slice of cake is going to ruin their health immediately. Food is such a private and sensitive topic that I think the best thing we can do for the public and for consumers is to encourage them to create a happy and healthy relationship with food and eating. In my opinions, the article, written by Jonathan Ross, does a poor job of this.

Glossary Building 2

I started out researching the fiduciary rule for this weeks post prompt. Right then, I came across a word I had never heard before. It may come as no surprise, but that word was in fact “fiduciary.” I continued on reading, hoping to gain some more knowledge. I ended up coming across two more words that spark my interest, “robo-advisors” and “index funds.” Now, it needs to be stated that I am the furthest thing from having a business working mind, or anything of that sort. So, these words could be simple terms to some but to me, they are a challenge. I wrote down the three words so that I could come back to them after I finished my readings.

The articles I was reading were completed and I still did not fully understand the three terms. I knew that a fiduciary was a person that acted under the fiduciary rule. Meaning, they legally had to give appropriate financial or legal advice that would benefit their specific client at the moment, rather than benefiting themselves. I searched around and saw that my own understanding of the term was pretty spot on, but dumbed down a bit for myself. After that, I turned to robo-advisors and found that the word means almost exactly what you would think. A robo-advisor is a legitimate online system that provides financial advice with hardly any human interaction. The software was created with algorithms that manage clients assets to optimize financial success. Pretty cool, but would you trust that? I then needed to understand and identify what the term “index funds” meant. Index funds are mutual funds. These are specifically designed to watch the returns of the market, and track it. An index fund holds all of the stocks on an index, which is basically just a list of investments. This one is still a little fuzzy for me and hard to grasp but I got a better understanding of it when I did research of my own. Since Tucker’s article (in this weeks post, prompt 2) was so difficult to understand, it helped me immensely to research these terms on my own. That way it was easier for me to grasp his concepts and ideas.

Definitions:

Fiduciary: involving trust, especially with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary.

Robo-Advisors: a class of financial advisor that provide financial advice or portfolio management online with moderate to minimal human intervention.

Index funds:  mutual fund with a portfolio constructed to match or track the components of a market index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500).