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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.

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Glossary Building #5

• 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.

See: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/DeathwithDignityAct/FrequentlyAskedQuestions

• 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.

See: http://old.seattletimes.com/html/seniorsforsale/2010939195_seniors31.html

• 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.

See: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/EnforcementActivitiesbyFDA/SelectedEnforcementActionsonUnapprovedDrugs/ucm119742.htm

Glossary part 1

Glossary Building post part

(1)

In one of our first prompts, we had the opportunity to read slides and answer a prompt on what would interest us the most, and for me that was the slides on Babies and Small children Slides. I mentioned there that my friend has newborns (now 3 month old twins and a toddler), and it is very important for her and for all of us to look after all children. One small change that can benefit an infant or small child is the dishware that is used to feed them. Washington State is the 2nd state to ban BPA from baby bottles and other dishes used for babies. Another change that I personally didn’t think much about was the level of lead in baby toys. I go to the store and think, cute baby toys, and then I either pick it up for a loved one or grab something else. A regulation in 1977 banned high levels of lead being used on children toys, and many toys have since been recalled. So what about the health of a baby when the baby is not a baby anymore? Many parents, as I could only assume, experience a bittersweet moment when their small child goes off to school for the first time. They may ask themselves many questions, and one of them might be, are they being fed? One of the slides (Feeding Older Kids) mentions laws being passed for schools to use local and fresh foods. A quick Google search lead me to a website that compares different policies or parts of policies on foods that are/should be used in schools. It compares the Washington State policies, more specifically the 2010 Revised Code of Washington 28A.210.365 with USDA nutrition standards. This is a neatly organized chart that helps viewers understand where Washington school food falls in terms of health.

BPA- Bisphenol A (BPA) can be found in baby bottle due to the plastic that is used to harden plastics as well as a method of keeping bacteria from contaminating the milk/other foods.

Lead- A natural occurring element that can be found throughout our environment, including inside our homes, which is especially dangerous to children. Children are more likely than not exploring their surroundings, which may expose them to lead through toys (pain from the toys) and dishware.

2010 Revised Code of Washington 28A.210.365 (Food choice, minimum standard)- This policy states that it’s goal, or the goal for Washington State, is to ensure that schools work on changes that will bring healthier food choices to students grades K-12, by 2010. This code also specifies that it will also hope to control the amount of nutrients/fats that should be in the school lunches as well as designing engaging activities for physical education classes.

BPA. Healthy Chidren. Org. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Baby-Bottles-And-Bisphenol-A-BPA.aspx

Learn about Lead. EPA.gov. Retrieved from:

https://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead

RCW 28A.210. 365. Leg.Wa.Gov retrieved from http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.210.365

(2)

As someone who makes several online purchases, especially at the cosmetic stores, I found the prompts on consumer protection and regulations very interesting. It wasn’t necessarily about cosmetics, but I did compare it to my consumption of all sorts of makeup. In this specific prompt I talked about how it is important to basically compare interest rate from different banks before taking out a loan or before buying a house. This made me think about how makeup companies also set their prices based on popularity. What I mean by this is that most companies carry the same makeup products for the most part, so if you don’t do your own comparing, you may end up with two of the exact same product but at different costs. For the protection of the consumer, companies are now adding the ingredient lists to most makeup products if not posting them on their websites. If they weren’t obligated to do so, how many makeup companies do you think could get away with giving us a “cheaply” made good for the price of a “luxurious” one?

 

Consumer protection regulation: regulations designed to protect the interests of the consumer

 

Safety and soundness regulation: ensures that banks operate safely without harming those who use banks.

 

Regulatroy changes– they are made in response to the consumers, but mostly as a response to new developments in the economy and consumer market.

 

Schmidt, J. WIllardson, N. (2004). Banking Regulation: The Focus Returns to the Consumer. Retrieved from https://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications/the-region/banking-regulation-the-focus-returns-to-the-consumer

 

 

(3)

My cousin’s wife is expecting, and she will hopefully be giving birth to my little nephew this upcoming year. After reading the slides on child birth, I found it interesting how new mothers take information and what they buy as new time parents versus parents that have already experienced the birth and care for a child. My cousin and his wife have purchased just about everything imaginable for their baby, and they are sharing baby posts on Facebook left and right. My friend, on the other hand, likes to share anything baby and toddler related, because she has a toddler and newborn twins. I remember that my friend was just like my cousin and his wife when she had her first child, because she didn’t know what to expect. Now my friend has the opportunity to buy products that she absolutely loves like a certain type of baby bottle that does I don’t know what kind of magic, because she has tried several kinds before finding the “right one”. Now I think about all the research that my cousin does and I can only imagine that they are thinking about every little detail including labor, products to buy, and child care after the baby comes home.

 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome– There is a great possibility that mothers who drink while pregnant can give birth to babies with alcohol spectrum disorders such as neurological disorders, vision, hearing, and short attention span.

Healthline.com. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/fetal-alcohol-syndrome

 

Midwife– A health care professional that provides care during labor, delivery and after birth as well. They can provide care from a birthing center or from the mother’s home, whichever makes her the most comfortable during labor.

American Pregnancy.Org. Midwives: Benefits of Having a Midwife. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/midwives/

 

Epidural– anesthesia that blocks pain from a certain part of the body, but does not block out total feeling making it the easiest anesthetic for women during childbirth.

American Pregnancy.Org. Epidural Anesthesia. Using Epidural Anesthesia During Labor: Benefits and Risks. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/epidural/

 

Pharmaceutical Industry – Prompt 1

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.

Illness & Mortality – Prompt 1

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

Food – Prompt 1

 

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.

Peer Review

In review of bcwu’s post on Thinking and Discourse:

I learned from this post that nutrition for your child shouldn’t stop being a top priority once they are able to make their own decisions in grade school. It would be good for a new parent to read this because they should be aware of all their choices as a consumer that should tailor specifically to their child. The strongest part of this post would be the emphasis on how children aren’t able to look after their own health (something some parents seem to not understand) I understood this post loud and clear, and didn’t find any typos or spelling errors. I would like to read more on this topic about the harmful chemicals that may be found in dishware for kids. I rate this contribution a 4, because babies are our future!!

Photovoice Final

The photos I took for my project are simple, but I intend for them to have a deeper meaning to readers. I have provided a photo of an ambulance, and a photo of a personal vehicle. This is the decision many Americans make in their own healthcare when they have a medical emergency. Americans will sacrifice their own health to save money instead of paying for ambulance transportation. In a personal experience, while outside an emergency room entry, a personal vehicle pulled into the bay next to our ambulance. A citizen stepped out and stated that their friend was going to need medical attention. Upon inspection, this was in fact the case and the friends of the victim had driven the person to the hospital via a regular car. This can be viewed as a consumer decision, because it is likely that they did not want to call 911 to pay for the ambulance ride. A large portion of the population in the United States has basic Medicare/Medicaid insurance. There also some individuals that have no insurance, especially in some areas of the country with high numbers of immigrants. No person should feel as though they cannot call for help and be treated by professionals due to their insurance or lack thereof. This class has discussed the choices we can make as consumers regarding our health. However, in my own opinion as a provider, this should not be a choice we are concerned with. Unfortunately, that is not the reality that consumers can exist in.

 

For two questions, I chose “What choice(s) do I have?” and “What is the usual discourse regarding this and similar services?” The choices for pre-hospital and hospital care are relatively simple. You can either take yourself to the hospital, or you can call an ambulance. Now, what most consumers are probably not aware of is that when paramedics show up, you do not have to take the ambulance. You are legally allowed to refuse treatment and transport, or you can be evaluated and choose to refuse transport. Regarding visiting the hospital, you can choose to be seen at emergency department for an illness or you may not. People have hundreds of varying insurance plans, and it is possible that it could be more affordable to be seen by an urgent care clinic or your primary physician. It is important as consumers that we be very aware of what our insurance does cover, so that we are not left with a hefty bill after we receive treatment or visit a healthcare site. Also, we must recognize how Medicare/aid differs from state to state in the event of using an ambulance or visiting the ER. A person may benefit from completing a project such as this, especially with this subject, because we do not consider disasters until they strike. It is rare that a young person in college (or any demographic) would plan ahead for an ambulance ride or ER visit. When the emergency is happening is not the time to stop and think how you will pay for the services.

Dairy PhotoVoice

During my time in this class, working on this blog, there have been two industries I’ve hit particularly hard: the pharmaceutical industry and the dairy industry: both of which may come off as hypocritical, as I do consume things from both these industries. I take a hormonal contraceptive to combat a scourge of hormonal acne that has struck me in my early 20’s, and when I make a sandwich, a slice of swiss really does make it great. However, the beef I have with these is misleading marketing about healthful effects of their products.

Who’s selling me what?

Here’s the really interesting thing about the dairy industry in the United States – it is one of the main receivers of farm subsidies in the country. Starting in the great depression and continuing into World War II, the industry was subsidized for economic reasons – the depression because dust bowl areas were suffering, and just a general decline in consumption – these subsidies were to keep these small family farms afloat. During World War II, it was to keep these farms producing while people were away at war and the United States was such a powerhouse. Production and subsidies continued – with the government having an investment in whether or not that milk got sold – the farm lobby has a good stake in many policymakers. So the federal government, on top of these subsidies, bought milk and stored it in Missouri as reserves for cheese and butter. But here’s the kicker: these reserves, in 1983, were valued at over 4 billion dollars. So the government switched gears and began to take a pro-dairy approach to policy making – it implementing an advertising board and commission that made a choice to heavily market dairy products such as cheese. Got Milk, if you’re familiar, is a product of this commission, known as ‘Dairy Management Inc.”

That’s the who, here’s the what:

The dairy industry most definitely wants you to look at their product as wholesome, and healthy. A glass of milk on the side of your meal is their recommended consumption: so much so that school lunch programs are not allowed to call it a meal unless milk is served with it. Again, I don’t think milk is per-say bad for you – you’d be better off consuming a glass of milk than an equally sized glass of vodka, or even soda; but rather, the products that milk can end up in in the normal American diet (the ones that Dairy Management Inc. is promoting especially heavily – they’ve worked with pizza chains to make sure there’s MORE cheese in certain products) are at odds with what many dieticians and, even other government agencies, say is healthful to eat.

How Healthy is it?

Again, I’m not doubting the benefits that milk can have on your calcium intake – it’s, weight-wise, the best thing you can consume if you’re looking solely at calcium levels. A glass of whole milk is a 103 calories, so it’s not especially bad calorically either. However, don’t let the milk lobby talk you into thinking it’s the only source of calcium: dark, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach or okra; white beans and soybeans; and some types of fish such as salmon, perch or rainbow trout are also good forms of calcium.

Milk, however, is something people can be sensitive to: lactose intolerance is relatively common among humans. It also can aggravate acne in those who are prone to breakouts; and those who consume skim or nonfat are more likely than those who consume whole to be overweight.

But milk itself is not the problem – rather, the problem is the things that milk pops into as an ingredient.

Dips and Syrups

These products are some dairy products that I found in my family’s fridge – all of these are not especially healthy uses for dairy. These items include sundae syrup; various dips and coffee creamer.

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Other dairy in our fridge also included cheeses – while the Brie and Provolone were slightly healthier, and more high quality in production, the shredded mexican cheese was not incredibly healthful.

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This is the creamer – while the calorie count doesn’t seem to be high, it’s also an artificially low amount for coffee creamer. Just a tablespoon?

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100 Calories for a topping? Wow.

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2 tablespoons as a topping is 18% of your daily saturated fat.

Why is it difficult to be healthy/unhealthy?

It’s difficult to know what’s healthy because people like to make clear-cut choices – “I won’t eat X because it’s not healthy” is a really good rule until you get into a complex process, such as the dairy industry. While it’s not bad for you on it’s own, and can have nutritional benefits, it’s difficult to make these close calls because they are able to add things to it and make it not-healthy-at-all.

 

Reflection:

Overall, I thought taking these pictures and putting together this post was fun – I really love doing research, so learning so much about the dairy industry and its subsidies was something that I really took in stride. As a history buff, I also LOVED being able to dive into some Great Depression and WWII history. (I most definitely had the Molly American Girl doll!) Plus, learning about billions of dollar in what is basically cheese reserves parallel something I learned about Canadians – that they have a syrup reserve. We’re not the only crazy ones, apparently.

I thought it was interesting seeing what my parents had in their fridge – I got home for the holiday last night, and this morning, rustling through the fridge, I noticed their eating patterns while we were gone. My parents are fairly health-conscious people, but the holiday season (and I’m thinking, having their two daughters home from college) may have spurred them to spring on some items they may not usually dive into. I’ve realized I’m not an incredibly artistic person, through my PR degree, but at this point I’m comfortable enough behind a camera to construct something that doesn’t look like it came out of Blair Witch Project.

Being not versed in iMovie (I’ve tried!), putting together a long-form blog post was a little more my speed. I thought it was an intuitive project for me – even though I wish I was a little more humorous with my captions. I try incredibly hard to be funny and witty, but not quite sure that this topic could support something like that.

I’m also shocked about how calorically dense caramel syrup is – I’d make a joke and say I should “Switch to magic shell”, but I’m convinced that’d be even worse… somehow.

Photovoice Part 2

Photovoice project

For my Photovoice project, I decided to go to a couple popular restaurant chains that advertise to be “healthy.” The restaurants I went to were Subway, Chipotle, and Panera Bread. These are places I go to eat pretty often because it’s affordable, good food, and they claim to be healthy. I have always been curious about whether or not these restaurants are actually healthier than most places, so I am glad that this class has me more aware and cautious about product claims and advertising and seeing if they are true. For my project, I looked at the calories, sodium, and sugar of the meals I ordered from these restaurants.

My recommended caloric intake from a calculator based from my age, weight, height, and activity level – 1786/day. It is also recommended that people consume no more than 2300 mg of sodium a day, and sugar 6 g a day.

How healthy is it?

Prior into starting this project, I was expecting Chipotle to be the “healthiest” for me. This is because they claim to use ingredients without any added flavors or preservatives, make their food in the kitchen. They also claim that their products come from small farms that don’t add any hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides to their plants and animals. However, Chipotle had the highest amount of calories at 615, and highest amount of sodium at 1645 mg. Panera Bread and Subway had close calories at 570-590, but Subway had more sodium at 1580 mg. As for Sugar, Panera Bread had the highest at 17 grams, Chipotle at 10 grams, and Subway at 6 grams. All 3 restaurants are a little “all over the place” on how healthy it is, but I would claim Chipotle to be the least healthiest out of all 3 because of its high sodium content. I was surprised at the amount of calories for Panera Bread because it was a salad and a sandwich, I was expecting the calorie amount to be high. Overall, I’d consider Panera Bread to be the “healthiest” out of these restaurants because it had less sodium and calories.

What choices do I have?

Eating at any restaurant, you have a huge selection to choose from. On most menus now, they show the amount of calories there are in each item. So using, “I had no other choice,” really isn’t an excuse now after deciding to eat something that wasn’t nutritious. There is also always the choice of cooking your own food at home, that way you choose where you buy ingredients from (organic, local) how you cook them, and what you add (seasonings, side dishes). Also when you cook your own food, you aren’t adding all the extra seasonings that most restaurants do.

Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?

As a college student on a very tight budget, I think one of the main reasons it’s difficult to be healthy and easy to be unhealthy is because most unhealthy foods are very inexpensive. While grocery shopping, it’s easy to notice that the unhealthy, processed foods are cheaper than organic, locally owned foods.

I really enjoyed doing this project! It has made me more aware of what I’m eating and putting into my body. The reason I go out to eat most of the time is because I get pretty busy to the point that I don’t have a lot of patience or time to make myself something to eat. One of my hobbies is going out and trying new different foods, but after this project I now want to stick to trying healthier, organic foods that don’t have so much sodium in them. After taking a picture of the foods I ordered from restaurants I enjoyed going to, I even realized that they aren’t that appealing or look good at all.  Although it is difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy, buying healthier foods is like an investment and beneficial because then you wouldn’t be consuming so much unhealthy food that could affect your body a lot.

Taking this class also made me aware of so many issues I never thought much about such as the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare, and the importance of sustainability. The readings I’ve done for this class made me see a whole different side of public health. If someone were to complete a project like this, I think it would benefit them by making them realize that what you see really isn’t what you get. Restaurants like these have advertisements everywhere claiming to be fresh, healthy, and delicious, so of course we believe them. Someone might start reading more into nutritional facts and seeing the amount of fat, calories, sodium, or cholesterol their food has. My project provides information and proof that restaurant chains who claim to be healthy are not. It also shows that it truly is easy to be unhealthy because unhealthy food is affordable and easy to get because it’s cooked for you.