Category Archives: glossary

Glossary 4

Socioeconomic Gradient–A phenomenon describing the hierarchical differences in health outcomes among a population based on the value that society places on certain characteristics, whether it be income, job, educational attainment, etc. This can be viewed as a ladder in that moving down the social ladder, more ill health and shorter life expectancy are experienced at each rung.

Feedback Loops–In systems analysis, the impact of changes in one influence or factor on other influences or factors in a positive or negative direction.

Health Disparity–a type of difference in health that is closely linked with social or economic disadvantage. Health disparities negatively affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater social or economic obstacles to health. These obstacles stem from characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion, such as race or ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, mental health, sexual orientation, or geographical location. Other characteristics include cognitive, sensory, or physical disability.

In every course I have taken, I see how poverty is a major factor in the quality of mental and physical health of individuals. Sure, there can be people who have more than enough money, and they can be abused, abuse, have cancer that runs in their families, etc.. But the rates of mental and physical illness are higher with those who live in poverty, and I would argue the rates of mental illness are much greater as well. We know that poverty is a public health crisis in Seattle and all over the world. And secondary to poverty are toxic living environments, lack of health care esp. mental health care, and a general lack of information regarding financial security, vaccines, and other public health community initiatives. I guess, my point is that in all my studying, I see that poverty needs to be addressed, so we can move on, otherwise we will continue to Band-Aid issues, and create new generations who live ill and ill-informed.  I see poverty as a primary issue, and health as secondary, and off of each of those branches tertiary issues, but I believe that poverty and health go hand in had–and they have for all of human history!



Riegelman, R., & Kirkwood, B. (2015). Public Health 101: Healthy People–Healthy Populations. Second edition. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Another Glossary Post

dishonest practices and claims to have special knowledge and skill in some field, typically medicine.

health policy:

health policy can be defined as the “decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific healthcare goals within a society. … They may cover topics of financing and delivery of healthcare, access to care, quality of care, and health equity.

health behavior:

combination of knowledge, practices, and attitudes that together contribute to motivate the actions we takeregarding health.

I took Intro. to Policy concurrently with this course and I feel that understanding policy, especially the health policies in our state and country, are an integral part of understanding consumer health. I also think it is important to acknowledge that our health behavior has a large impact on what we are consuming both as individuals and as a society. I also chose to define quackery, mainly because it was the first word that caught my interest in this course. Before Summer quarter had begun I was reading through different course descriptions to decide what to sign up for, and the description for this course used the word “quackery”. It is such a silly word to me but the more I learned in this course, the more I realized the quackery that occurs in the life of an every day consumer, and how destructive it is to our learning and decision making.



Glossary Post 4

For my final glossary post, I will be using vocabulary words that I found to be useful while I was doing my photovoice project research on nutrition labels.

Percent Daily Value: the %DV [Percent Daily Value] helps you determine if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient…  are based on the Daily Value recommendations for key nutrients but only for a 2,000 calorie daily diet–not 2,500 calories. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, n.d.)”

The percent daily value is usually the column of the nutrition label that has a percentage, next to each nutrient (except for trans fat, sugars, and a few others). It represents how much of your daily needed nutrients the food will provide if you eat according to the serving size, according to a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet.

Calories: “a unit equivalent to the large calorie expressing heat-producing or energy-producing value in food when oxidized in the body (Merriam-Webster, n.d.).”

I chose to define calories, because its definition is a little confusing. When a nutrition label lists how many calories a food has, what it is really doing is listing how many units of heat ones body will oxidize when they eat it according to the serving size.

Trans Fat: 

“There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats. Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid (American Heart Association, 2017).”

For a long time, I did not know what trans fat meant. I just knew that it was the type of fat that was healthier to avoid consuming. Now I see that a huge reason for this is because it is fat that is either factory made, or produced in the guts of animals.


Calorie. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from
How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label. (2004, November). Retrieved from
Trans Fat. (2017, March 24). Retrieved from

Glossary Post 3

Here is my third glossary post. These terms are based on consumer protection and regulation.

Sustainability Consortium: “a global non-profit organization working to transform the consumer goods industry by partnering with leading companies to define, develop, and deliver more sustainable products (The Sustainability Consortium, n.d.)”

The Sustainability Consortium is the organization that Wal-mart will share their best practices with during the process of phasing ten hazardous chemicals out of their products. I think that this is important, because there are many great environmental organizations that people don’t know about.

Retailer: “a person, shop, or business that sells goods to the public (Cambridge, n.d.).”

The definition of this word can be a little fuzzy, as it is thrown around a lot without clarification of the definition. The definition that I found is quite simple to grasp, which could be why the word is used in such a breezy fashion.

Hazardous: “involving or exposing one to risk (as of loss or harm) (Merriam-Webster, n.d.)”

I included this word for the same reason I chose the word retailer, it’s important to be aware of commonly used words, as they can eventually lose their meaning if they are just used without awareness of their definition.


Hazardous. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from

Retailer. (n.d.). In Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved from

 The Sustainability Consortium – Sustainable Products, Sustainable Planet. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2017, from

Glossary Five

Biohacking: “The activity of exploiting genetic material experimentally without regard to accepted ethical standards.” Some hacks involve putting a small magnet in your finger, some go much farther, one man even gave himself night-vision.

Euthanasia: “The act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” This is a highly controversial topic, assisted suicide is illegal in most countries.

Autonomous vehicles: Vehicles capable of driving themselves have become a topic of road safety lawmaking since the first inception of the design. One of the main reasons this is a concern is because the car might face what is called the trolley dilemma. In the event of an accident or loss of control, the vehicle might have to decide which pedestrians survive, and which die.

Glossary Four

CRISPR:  “A gene editing technique in which CRISPR and the RNA segments and enzymes it produces are used to identify and modify specific DNA sequences in the genome of other organisms.” This technique of modifying DNA is now a serious health and ethics question being debated because CRISPR is also being tested on human cells. Bringing us to the topic of designer babies.

Designer Babies: The MIT Technology Review has reported the first testing of this method on human embryos in the US. Additionally, they report that the “three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.” In order to avoid the ethical questions he did this outside the womb, and never implanted the eggs. Will this become a service we are sold in the near future?

Germline Engineering: Making CRISPR even more controversial is the long term consequences, because the changes made would be passed down. “Germ line is biologists’ jargon for the egg and sperm, which combine to form an embryo. By editing the DNA of these cells or the embryo itself, it could be possible to correct disease genes and pass those genetic fixes on to future generations.”

Glossary Post 3

Genetically Modified Organism: “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.”

Organic Foods: “USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.”

Food and Drug Administration: “The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”

Glossary Post 2

Pre-existing condition: “a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts.” This has been a major issue for recent health care legislation. The A.C.A. required insurance companies to accept those with these conditions, among other things.

Risk pool: “Risk pooling is also known as health insurance, which is a group of persons contributing to a common pool, usually held by a third party. These funds are used to pay for all or part of the cost of providing a defined set of health services for members of the pool.” Seeing as how different people are expected to cost the insurance company different amounts over time, customers are sorted into pools of different risk levels.

Addiction: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

Glossary Post 6

Quarantine = separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Quarantine and Isolation. (2017, March 21). Retrieved July 26, 2017, from

Prevalence = is the proportion of a population who have (or had) a specific characteristic in a given time period – in medicine, typically an illness, a condition, or a risk factor such as depression or smoking.

What is prevalence? (n.d.). Retrieved July 26, 2017, from

Morbidity = refers to having a disease or a symptom of disease, or to the amount of disease within a population. Morbidity also refers to medical problems caused by a treatment.

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. (n.d.). Retrieved July 26, 2017, from

Glossary Post 1

Self-ownership: The concept that all humans “own” themselves, and they therefore have control over their body and life choices. Online dictionaries redirect to the word “ownership,” with self-ownership as a related form of the word. The term is most common in liberty focused political circles, but also has some importance in consumer health studies.

Bodily Autonomy: “The right to autonomy in making health decisions in general.” Although in most cases this is contextually used interchangeably with self-ownership, self-ownership is often more broadly due to its less specific political connections.

Consumption Smoothing: “The ways in which people try to optimize their lifetime standard of living by ensuring a proper balance of spending and saving during the different phases of their life.” This is an important concept for many to understand, because this is the justification for insurance. By spending a little bit every month, we can prevent part or all of the massive spending required during an emergency.