Tag Archives: emilydietetics

Pharmaceutical Prompt One

Before reading this, I had no idea what DTC adds were. I am aware of the ads on television about certain medications but I had no idea what they were called and never really paid any attention to these ads. After reading these slides I have come up with some points to summarize this advertising practice and why this practice may need a change.

Firstly, the FDA does not require companies to provide an exhaustive and detailed list of side effects in their infomercials. This leaves out certain side effects that may be harmful to the consumer depending on their present medical status and their way of living. Hopefully, if these medications are prescription only medications, then the prescribing doctor would look at the patients’ medical history before prescribing a drug that may have harmful side effects. However, the patient may be resistant to go on other drugs that they have not heard of due to fear of the unknown, so they may only want to take a drug that they have seen in an infomercial. The FDA also reports in a survey that many physicians felt pressure to prescribe a DTC ad drug when a patient brought it up. Secondly, a change for the DTC advertising took place in 2008, when the pharmaceutical industry pledged to not allow actors to play doctors and to make sure that anyone endorsing their product had actually used their product. This does pose a slight problem in that just because someone is endorsing a product does not mean that it worked for them. They are required to have had to try the product, but their opinion on it may be swayed by the amount of money offered to endorse the product. Lastly, DTC ads are putting more prescription drugs and companies under criticism. DTC has reportedly increased demand, but it has also made companies and their products open to criticism that they are trying to maximize profits rather than actually help consumers. This poses a problem when law firms put on commercials stating that a certain prescription drug may cause a serious illness and that the consumer should sue the prescribing doctor and the company who produced the drug. These kinds of ads make consumers wary of companies and drugs and may deter them from getting the help that they need. While one kind of drug may not have worked for one person, it may work for a different person.

An acceptable public health solution is to require companies to provide and exhaustive and detailed list of the side effects to consumers and to only allow endorsements from patients with which the drug has succeeded in doing its job. For providing a list of side effects, the FDA needs to change its requirement back to that of the 1980’s when DTC was first legalized. As for real endorsements, that is slightly trickier as patient confidentiality and HIPPA laws come into play. Patients would have to reach out to pharmaceutical companies themselves to tell the companies if the product worked for them, and from there on the company could ask the patient to publicly endorse their drug.

Advertisements

PhotoVoice Part One

For my PhotoVoice project I will be attempting to answer the questions “Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?”, “How healthy is it?”, and “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?”. An idea that I had for this was to go around to three fast food companies and ask to see their nutritional facts menu. I am planning to go to McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, and Taco Bell. I will be able to see how readily available the nutritional facts are and how many nutritional facts are provided for what items on the menu. This should allow me to find out if I know all the information that I need to make a healthy choice and to find out how healthy different fast food actually is. Also, based on how readily available this nutritional information is I will be able to judge why it is so difficult to be healthy as a college kid on a budget. I will post pictures of the nutritional fact sheets and possibly short videos timing how long it took the fast food chain to get me these sheets. Then I plan to post pictures of some of the healthiest and unhealthiest foods on the menu to get a sense of what they look like and how looks of food can be deceiving.

Glossary Building 5

The glossary post for this week is about illness and morality and how these are treated or enhanced. First, the article, “How Many Die from Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?” talks about how many patients have died from medical mistakes. This article was interesting in the fact that not only was the number much higher than anticipated, but also because “There’s never been an actual count of how many patients experience preventable harm. So, we’re left with approximations, which are imperfect in part because of inaccuracies in medical records and the reluctance of some providers to report mistakes,” (Allen, 2013). To show an example of possible medical negligence, the next article is called “Geography is Destiny in Deaths from Kidney Failure, Study Shows”. This article talks about how depending on what region someone with end-stage kidney disease lives in, they have a better or worse chance of survival. It then goes on to discuss which kind of dialysis is better for kidney patients and frighteningly states that “Dialysis with an AV fistula is superior to other methods and offers a dramatic survival advantage… the fact that fewer than one in five people start dialysis with a fistula is a real public health concern” (John Hopkins Medicine, 2015). It then goes on to explain that those living in New England and the Pacific Northwest have the greatest chance (1 in 5) of going on dialysis with a fistula, whereas Texas and Southern California have the lowest chance (1 in 9). This is perhaps because the New England and Pacific Northwest regions pay doctors more than the Southern United States.

Next, as many Baby Boomers are getting older and may soon be at the point of needing assisted living or to live in some kind of aging community, the next article called “Aging in Community: The Communitarian Alternative to Aging in Place, Alone” talks about aging communities. Aging in community is not a new concept, many people grew up in a neighborhood, inherited the house from their parents and died there. However, with new medical procedures used to expand the lifespan, people are living longer and not necessarily better. This leads to the invention of assisted living facilities, but these facilities can be costly, and many Baby Boomers have not saved enough money or lost money in the recession of 2007. So communities have started banding together to provide better options for those in need of assisted living. For instance, as nearly 1 in 5 women over age 55 live in poverty, one community has established “house-sharing” for these women. Allowing them to live in a house without paying the full rent. This leads to a more understanding, helpful, and less expensive environment that a long-term care facility.

  • Patient Safety: Very limited as evidenced by reports of hospital negligence and the number of medical mistakes contributing to patient deaths.
  • Equal Treatment of Patients: Unable to exist in this country due to geographical and socioeconomic differences.
  • Aging in Community: Communities banding together to help the older generations with general living requirements while costing significantly less that an assisted living facility.

Bibliography

Allen, M. (2013, September 20). How Many Die from Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals? Retrieved November 14, 2017, from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/09/20/224507654/how-many-die-from-medical-mistakes-in-u-s-hospitals

Blanchard, J. (2014, April 2). Aging in Community: The Communitarian Alternative to Aging in Place, Alone. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from http://www.asaging.org/blog/aging-community-communitarian-alternative-aging-place-alone

Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Geography is destiny in deaths from kidney failure, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150624115632.htm.

Illness and Morality Prompt One

As I plan to live in Washington State when I am of the age that this information will be pertinent to me, I have decided to look at the provided Washington agency’s website. Looking at this with the eyes of an uninformed consumer was difficult as I do believe that most consumers would do extensive research before committing their loved ones to a long-term care facility. However, if this was the first place the consumer started looking, I could see how this could be both helpful and confusing.

Somethings that were immediately helpful were the statement that Adult Protective Services will be checking for signs of abuse as there have been many stories reporting abuse of the elderly in long-term care facilities. Another helpful thing was that there was a section for the deaf and hard of hearing. Many elderly people have a hearing problem, and many of them would need additional assistance in everyday life, it is good to know that that is an option. Some less helpful things were the lack of a listed cost, if there was a minimum amount of time that someone had to stay in the facility, and what the guidelines and rules are as far as visitation goes. However, this is more a lack of information rather than provided confusing information. I would suggest that consumers look elsewhere for more information. For instance, sometimes other consumers can be extremely helpful, so looking somewhere like Yelp for some reviews would be possibly be helpful in answering some questions. Consumers should also call any long-term care facility they are considering for their loved ones and ask any lingering questions, and visit any facility that they are seriously considering. Doing this would allow the consumer to make a better-informed decision and allow their loved ones to live a happier life in an assisted living community.

Food Matters Prompt One

The three resources that I found most enlightening from the Food Matters page were “The Whiskey Boom’s Dirty Little Secret”, “Healthy Eating Index”, and “The Snackification of Everything”. From the first article, something new to me is that most whiskey companies do not make what they bottle. If the label says “bottled by [name of company]” or “produced by [name of company]” then the company put the whiskey in the bottle after the whiskey was produced elsewhere. Most likely, the whiskey was “actually made at a massive plant in southern Indiana, where each barrel holds about 63 gallons of aging bourbon,” (Reid, 2014). New information that I learned from the second article is that not all people have access to the same foods. For instance, a person living in Nebraska may not have as much access to fresh fish or sushi as a person living in Seattle. This is mainly due to socioeconomic factors and living location. In order to apply this to real life, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) came up with a scoring system called “The Healthy Eating Index” to rank foods and meals. Something new I learned from the third article listed above is the newfound prevalence of snacking. The article says that “only 10% of Americans snacked three or more times a day in the late 1970’s, the figure had risen to 56% in 2010” (Akst, 2014). As I am currently in several Nutrition classes, I am very aware of the poor eating habits of Americans, however, I was not aware that many of these habits can be linked to snacking. This article goes on to say that snacking perhaps became so popular because the public likes the idea of a noncommittal relationship with food the way that they like the idea of a noncommittal relationship in other aspects of life.

None of this information is particularly concerning health wise other than the information on snacking. Mostly, these articles were very informative and made me feel as though I could make better decisions in the future. I would gladly tell me friends not to buy the more expensive whiskey and bourbon as it is basically the same as the cheaper stuff, and perhaps I would enjoy a debate over the idea of snacking and its relation to my generations favoritism of brevity over longevity. However, as I have just turned 20, I do not see myself having kids for a while, once I do I am sure I will find the Healthy Eating Index helpful. The one policy decision impacting people’s choices and health outcomes is the Healthy Eating Index. I am interested in Nutrition, and the fact that there is a way to measure the nutritional value of the foods that kids are ingesting is very important especially with the number of obese children on the rise. If people were less informed than me about these topics, they may be surprised. Some of my friends who enjoy expensive whiskey and bourbon may feel cheated as they have been paying more for the same quality of their favorite alcohol. Those with kids, especially overweight kids, may feel the need to research more on the Healthy Eating Index to best help their child. And those who are prone to snacking or to replacing meals with snack food may be interested in the snacking culture and may enjoy reading how it applies to American culture now.

Bibliography

Akst, D. (2014, December 19). The Snackification of Everything. Retrieved November 07, 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-akst-snacks-20141221-story.html

NCCOR. (n.d.). Retrieved November 07, 2017, from http://www.nccor.org/projects/hei/

Reid, C. (2014, December 31). The Whiskey Boom’s Dirty Little Secret. Retrieved November 07, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-whiskey-booms-dirty-little-secret/

Glossary Building 4

This Glossary Building assignment is based on 3 articles from the Food readings. First, the article “Poll Says Majority of Americans Support Menu Labeling” claims that about half of the American’s surveyed say that they would approve of calorie information on the menus at restaurants, sit down diners, grocery stores, and so on. However, it then goes on to claim that the majority of Americans feel as though they already know enough about nutrition to make an informed choice. This implies that Americans are really not informed as to what they are eating, and need to know the caloric value of foods in order to make at least a partially informed decision. Either that or Americans are in denial of how bad some foods can be, as they would prefer to focus on taste. That way, if the calories are not posted next to the food when they are out to eat or shopping, they can pretend that it is not as bad for them.

Next, we move on to vegetables. According to “Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep” vegetables are not healthy in the way that they are being consumed. This article claims that due to undesirable taste, many Americans cooks their vegetables in ways that add fat and salt, negating the health benefits. When eaten fresh and raw, vegetables can be a great weight loss option, however, they are typically salted or sautéed. Lastly, we talk about healthy eating. Healthy eating is thought of as eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, less red meat, and more protein. However, it should be noted that not everyone in the United States has access to all of these things. Depending on socioeconomic status and living area, some people may only have access to processed foods. The article “Healthy Eating Index” by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) is actively working to provide these healthy options to people who do not yet have them.

  • Informed Americans: Americans who claim to know enough about nutrition, yet still want to see caloric values of the foods they are eating.
  • Vegetables: A plant or part of a plant used as food that is typically highly salted and cooked before being eaten.
  • Healthy Eating: Eating more natural and less processed foods when available.

Bibliography

Guthrie, J. (2014, May 5). Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep. Retrieved November 2, 2017, from https://consuminghealthmatters.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/healthyvegunderminedbycompanytheykeep.pdf

NCCOR. (n.d.). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from http://www.nccor.org/projects/hei/

Poll says majority of Americans support menu labeling. (2014, December 31). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/12/31/poll-says-majority-americans-support-menu-labeling.html

Glossary Building Post 3

The pregnancy industry has many faults both before, after, and during a pregnancy, one that stuck me the most was the cord blood controversy. Cord blood is blood from the umbilical cord that many families choose to have frozen in case their child has a genetic deformity or falls ill with a chronic disease. The problem with this is that if either of these things happen to the child, the defect or disease is likely to be in the cord blood, rendering the stem cells in it useless. Luckily, umbilical cords and their blood can be donated to public institutions where families will have access to them for free which may be a better and less expensive option.

The next topic is one very close to me, and I am sure many of my peers: student loans. About 70 percent of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree end up in debt, the average debt being around $28,000. This is a lot of money to be paid back for someone who is just starting their career. Therefore, former President Obama put into law a student reform that requires affordable loan payments every year, capping these payments at 10 percent of the borrower’s income. This is good for many borrowers as this gives them time to get together more money, however, it may take a longer time to pay off. The good news is that if the borrower goes into federal work, they may have their student loans forgiven by Public Service Loan Forgiveness that mandates that after ten years of qualifying payments, those working in government, nonprofit, and other public service jobs may have their remaining debt forgiven.

  • Cord blood: Blood from the umbilical cord that remains in the placenta that can be frozen for the future if the child has a disease, but will most likely be ultimately unhelpful as the child’s disease will also be in the cord blood.
  • Affordable Loan Payments: 10 percent of the borrower’s income according to Former President Obama’s student reform.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Those who work in a federal program may have their remaining student debt forgiven after 10 years of qualifying payments.

Finance Prompt 2

Both “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Retirement Industry is a Minefield – But Here’s the Answer” and “4 Arguments Against the Fiduciary Rule Debunked” both argue that the Fiduciary Rule would only be beneficial to consumers. The Fiduciary Rule is a professional obligation that requires financial advisers to put their client’s best interests ahead of their own. Before this rule was instated, many financial advisers were having their clients do things that are beneficial for the advisory and many of these clients had high interest rates, which according to “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Retirement Industry is a Minefield – But Here’s the Answer” can add up as “paying a 2 percent fee, [could mean] losing two-thirds of savings over a fifty-year time period” (Lee, 2016).

Looking at both of these articles from a consumer point of view, the John Oliver one was easier to understand. As I am a 20-year-old Nutrition major, I know next to nothing about business, therefore, I know next to nothing about financial advisers and how they operate. I do recognize this as being a problem, however, I have always thought that I would start saving for retirement after graduating college, and that retirement worries can wait till then, for now I just need to figure out how I am going to afford housing, food, and gas at the same time. I think this may be true for many consumers this age, the exception being those who are studying business. If the consumer is well-informed or currently saving for retirement, then “4 Arguments Against the Fiduciary Rule Debunked” might be more helpful. For instance, in this article’s first point, it states that the government cannot reclaim a consumer’s assets “unless you’re a criminal” (“4 Arguments Against the Fiduciary Rule Debunked”). This was news to me as I thought that the government could reclaim anything and everything depending on the level of debt that person may be in. Another thing that I, and most likely many consumers, was unaware of is that “some advisers receive commissions for their financial counsel” (“4 Arguments Against the Fiduciary Rule Debunked”). While I knew that financial advisers needed to be paid by their clients, I was not aware that they could also take commission from the prosperous investments made by their clients. To summarize, I believe that “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Retirement Industry is a Minefield – But Here’s the Answer” provides better baseline information for those who are uninformed about the business world whereas “4 Arguments Against the Fiduciary Rule Debunked” provides better information for those who are more informed about the business and retirement world.

Bibliography

Lee, K. (2016, June 14). LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER: THE RETIREMENT INDUSTRY IS A MINEFIELD — BUT HERE’S THE ANSWER. Retrieved October 25, 2017, from https://uspirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/last-week-tonight-john-oliver-retirement-industry-minefield-here%E2%80%99s-answer

4 Arguments Against the Fiduciary Rule Debunked. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from http://www.truemeasureadvisors.com/2016/04/20/20164145-argument-against-the-fiduciary-rule-debunked/

Early Life Matters Prompt 1

Looking through the Birth slides and some of the readings on the Early Life Matters content pages has opened my eyes to the vulnerability of parents to unneeded items and medical “necessities”. Firstly, medication; according to the National Women’s Health Network, “ART [assisted reproductive technology] is expensive (averaging $12,400 per cycle, with many patients requiring two or more cycles) and often is not covered by insurance, so it is natural for patients to seek a provider that can maximize their chance of success. Yet, a recent analysis of web content from 372 U.S. fertility clinics (out of a total of 381 clinics) suggests that the success rates being promoted are not based on reputable practices and/or standards,” (Walden, 2015). This shows that ART is neither an affordable nor a reputable practice that cannot be relied on, and yet thousands of families do. Secondly, according to the Birth Slides, a Cesarean Section is the most common surgical procedure in the United States with rates at about 31.8%. However, the rates are different based on hospital policies, not on health. Furthermore, the cost of vaginal birth and a Cesarean section are not the same, and while there is a plan to equalize the payment, one is not in place as of yet.

Keeping with the theme of unneeded vs. needed medical expenses, next to discuss is an article entitled “The Cord Blood Controversy”. In this article, many parents have chosen to freeze their child’s umbilical cord after birth in case of an autoimmune disease or genetic defect that could be cured with the stem cells from the cord. However, the problem with this is that not only does it cost a large sum of money, currently $1,000 to $2,000, it also may not be effective. If the infant has a genetic defect or a disease, the same defect or disease is likely in the umbilical cord, therefore rendering the stem cells in it useless to the child. In fact, to quote the article, “Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued statements in the late 1990s opposing the use of for-profit banks — and criticizing their marketing tactics,” (Moninger). However, it was stated that the umbilical cords may be donated to a public institution to be available for free for children who need stem cells. Lastly, we will revisit the Cesarean section topic. In the United States, if a mother has had a Cesarean section before, she will be denied a vaginal birth in the future. This is problematic because, as mentioned before, Cesarean sections are more expensive than natural births. However, according to the article “More women should have choice of vaginal birth after C-section, panel says” this information is untrue. In this article, and independent panel of women’s health experts say that “U.S. women should be given the option to have a vaginal birth after cesarean, stating that such births are reasonably safe,” (Roan, 2010). In other words, families have been forced to spend thousands of dollars on a procedure that they may not need which would impact them financially in a significant way. Families appear to be duped out of money from contraception to birth, and probably long after. Pre-parents and young parents need to look into all of their options for conceiving and birthing before making a decision. If they decide to visit a doctor, they should attempt to bring a list of questions so that they are able to get all of their answers at once and therefore spend less money. Everyone knows that being a parent is hard work and a lot of money, but many people do not realize that being a pre-parent can also be extremely expensive.

Bibliography

Moninger, J. (2017). The Cord Blood Controversy. Retrieved from http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-baby/cord-blood-banking/the-cord-blood-controversy/

Roan, S. (2010, March). More women should have choice of vaginal birth after C-section, panel says. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-0323-hosp-vbac-20100323-story.html

Walden, R. (2015, October). Direct-to-Consumer: Fertility Clinic Advertising on the Web. Retrieved from https://www.nwhn.org/direct-to-consumer-fertility-clinic-advertising-on-the-web/.

Food Labels Challenge Prompt 1

For this challenge I decided to talk to my friend who is majoring in Computer Science and knows next to nothing about food labels and nutrition. First, I had her look at the nutrition label on a box of organic cereal I own. She noted that she knows most of what the words in bold are excluding how potassium is impactful, however, she was mostly unable to tell me how the values of the word not bolded could impact her. She was aware that different kinds of fat are “varying degrees of bad” to quote her, but she was not sure which ones or why. However, she was confused as to how the total fat was 1.5g and yet all the different types of fat were listed at 0g. As for the vitamin and minerals section, she expressed great disinterest and no knowledge.

When I showed her the picture of the new label, she seemed more comfortable. The fact that there were less words on the label made it less intimidating for her. She also said that having the calories and the serving sizes enlarged made it feel like she was not being duped out of a product. She feels as though if she were to buy this she would know exactly what she was getting. She seemed much more relaxed given less information, as before she was unable to interpret all of it, but given the basics she felt much more comfortable. However, her one concern was that the ingredients list was interesting as it was more vertical than horizontal, which made it more difficult to read.

This was an interesting challenge to me because it is easy to forget that not everyone looks at package labels or knows how to read them. Since going into the field of nutrition, it has become second nature for me to read food labels because I have a genuine interest in it, however, that is not the case with everyone. I do agree with my friend in the case that the newer label is easier to read, however, I will miss the vitamin and mineral section, and I do not see a list of the different kinds of fats, but they may be a production choice rather than a requirement. All in all, I do believe that this label switch will benefit the general consumer, however, as someone studying food science and nutrition, I will miss the added information.