Health Foods on Campus
Introduction According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “more than one-third of U. S. adults (35. 7%) are obese. Approximately 17% of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are obese. ” The state of Iowa ranks above the national average at 28. 4%, leaving the responsibility of changing this epidemic to local communities.
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According to the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource August 2010 issue, “the soda demand is so great there is enough to supply [everyone] with more than 52 gallons of soda a year. The rate of soda and junk food consumption has greatly increased throughout the United States; the Iowa State Campus is not an exception. Purpose and Scope As students as Iowa State, we are best fit to research how to change the lifestyles of our peers. In order to decrease the obesity epidemic, we are proposing to assist in changing someone’s routine diet by replacing the vending machine snack options. The existing vending machines have little variety or choice of healthy foods. Furthermore, most beverage-centered vending machines only have water as a choice as a healthy alternative.
Giving students the selection of healthy foods will not only lower their risk of obesity during their stay at Iowa State, but it will provide students with the tools to make healthy choices about food once they are away from ISU. Methods Our analysis will be derived from three levels; macro-level, meso-level, and micro-level. These different depths of scope will provide us with the most well rounded view of the obesity epidemic, as well as which methods of fixing the problem proves to be most effective.
Macro-level analysis will stem from a complete description of the United State’s relationship with obesity, food consumption, and activity levels. From there, research specifically relating to the ISU community will be acquired through sample surveys and an interview with ISU’s Peggy Martin, Director of Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. The first step would be to poll 150 students or more regarding how they want the university to overcome obesity. If our hypothesis reigns true, we will determine that replacing vending machine snacks with healthier ones will be the most efficient method.
The focus audience will be Mayor Ann Campbell, since she has the power to pass this proposal on to the city council or discard it. If she passes it on, the primary audience will be the city council members, since they are the ones who voice their opinions and affect the final vote of the citizens of Ames, who are the secondary audience. Other concerned audiences include the citizens of nearby cities or people who visit Ames, as well as any other communities considering a similar proposal. Risks of Junk Food and Soda Consumption
Junk food is described as any food that contains little or no nutritional value. Outside of the lack of nutritional value junk food has many negative effects as well. Studies show links to obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. The United States is one of the unhealthiest nations in the world, consuming more fast food than any other nation per capita. The rise of childhood obesity is on the brink of being an epidemic, showing that the United States’ own culture has come to include junk food.
Many people get their eating habits from their families growing up, even those who eat healthy as a children now are at risk for developing unhealthy habits when they move away to college, given that for the first time they are forced to make food-related decisions on their own, with little to no education on health. Students may also feel that they are too busy to plan out healthy meals; looking for quick and easy meals found at many convenient locations on campus. Students turn to soda for the caffeine for energy and fast food for sustenance.
The lack of available healthy options and the accessibility of junk food on and around campus is a major cause for concern. Obesity and Diabetes Obesity is defined as a body mass index greater or equal to 30 (CDC). In 2009-2010 35. 7% of U. S. adults were classified as obese that is 78 million people. These numbers are a dramatic increase from over a few decades ago. Obesity is a life threatening condition that has many negative side effects. Hypertension, adverse lipid concentrations and type two diabetes are some of the major problematic conditions that come with being obese.
The state of Iowa has one of the largest populations of obese people in the nation (Table 1. 1). Table 1. 1 As one can see, obesity is a major concern in the United States. This is due to the U. S. ’s unhealthy obsession with junk food and soda. Poor diet often leads to obesity in children and adults. Along with obesity, poor diet also can lead to type II diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that leads to high levels of glucose in the blood stream. Diabetes can lead to all sorts of problems to name a few kidney disease, blindness, amputations and death (CDC).
Over 25 million people are suffering from diabetes in the U. S. There is much to be concerned about with obesity and diabetes being so widespread. The main cause of this is unhealthy diet. A large portion of the average American’s unhealthy diet is soda pop. Even diet soda has negative health effects. Dangers of Soda Pop Soda pop is an American staple. It goes great with other American classics such as hotdogs and hamburgers. Unfortunately children are drinking it in excess and developing bad habits that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
In fact studies show that 16% of the average American’s caloric intake in a day comes from sugary beverages (WebMD). Heavy soda consumption can lead to rapid weight gain and studies also show connections to osteoporosis and certain types of cancers. But regardless of the negative effects and the doctors warnings people continue to buy and drink soda more than ever. Coca-Cola reported record numbers in the past few years. Soda is a part of people’s daily routines. Many people do not think twice about grabbing a soft-drink when thirsty or in need of some energy.
College students drink enormous quantities of soda, they use it as study aids because of the caffeine content or grab one because they are thirsty. In many cases it is the easiest option. Vending machines located throughout campus in every corner of every building. But other than the obvious health effects mentioned above, in which soda is a leading cause of, what other negatives are happening to college students due to soda and other unhealthy dietary habits? Student Performance and Unhealthy Diet Students are busy creatures.
They have a lot on their plate with school work and those who hold jobs as well can feel downright overwhelmed. What do these students do to survive the hectic lifestyle they lead? The answer is fast food, junk food and soda pop, and anything quick and easy to grab on the go. There is no shortage of these options on and around college campuses across the U. S. and at Iowa State. The quicker and easier the food the worse it usually is for you. Most students do not take that into consideration, they are young and in good health.
The fact is even if these bad habits do not catch up with you right away, there are plenty of dangers waiting around the corner in the future. Most students are probably not aware of the effects that their diet is having on them now. Poor diet not only leads to life threatening diseases but can have a number of psychological effects on a person. Depression can form from unhealthy diets, as students feel bad about their bodies and even chemical reactions from sugars and other ingredients in junk food can lead to depression like states.
Studies have also been conducted in the past regarding the effects of junk food and soda on memory and links have been made that show a person who regularly eats fast food and drinks soda has lower memory and comprehension. A health student is a happy student is a successful student. Benefits of Healthy Snacks The term “snack” has gained a definition similar to “junk food” over recent years. According to Nutrition. com’s Snack Attacks article, the idea that snacks are fattening is a myth, as well as the idea that snacking is the same as eating junk food. The article states that by eating snacks during a ong stretch of time between meals will eliminate any overeating during a meal, as long as these snacks are healthy alternatives. Since blood sugar drops three to five hours after a meal, occasional snacks boosts metabolism, according to Everyday Health’s article Healthy Snacking Benefits. Being hungry puts one’s body into starvation mode and will slow down metabolic processes, which causes the body to store fat. The article Healthy Snacking Benefits also discusses this when explaining that snacks high in nutrients, fiber, and protein, and not so high in fat will kickstart the body’s metabolism and can curb cravings.
Snacking should also be thought of as fuel, and constant replenishment of this fuel prevents one from becoming overly tired and “unable to concentrate. ” (Healthy Snacking Benefits) Healthy snacks give the body an extra energy boost and keeps a person more mentally alert and focused. Nurition. com discusses a similar topic and explains that the idea that “snacks spoil your appetite for meals” (Snack Attacks) is a myth. In fact, snacking two or three hours before a full meal may simply restrict the body from becoming extremely hungry and causing one to overeat.
However, fattening snacks such as potato chips, chocolates, sweets, etc. will increase overall caloric intake if not considered into daily intake as a whole. Healthy snacks do not typically cause these problems. Growing children, athletes, teenagers, and adults all have varying needs when it comes to dietary needs. All athletes needs more energy than the average person, therefore allowing them to need energy “in the form of carbohydrates, whereas teenagers need higher energy snacks and nutrients for their continually growing bodies, and while adults need to only maintain their health should eat more frequent, smaller snacks. Snack Attacks) Fruits, low-fat dairy products, grains, and vegetables are snacks that may boost energy and “battle fatigue,” as well as “protein-laden food like fish, meat, eggs, cheese, and tofu” because these contain amino acids which increase concentration. (Healthy Snacking Benefits) According to abc. com, raisins, soy products, walnuts, avocado, and high-fiber foods are the top 5 heart-healthy snacks. “[At the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting], researchers presented results of separate studies that evaluated the effects of raisins and soy on blood pressure. The studies found that oth foods lowered blood pressure when consumed regularly. ” (Top 5 Heart-Healthy Snacks) The researchers believe that the potassium intake from the raisins cause the decrease, while genistein, found in soy products increased dilation of the blood vessels, which led to a decrease in blood pressure. Walnuts contain “healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats” and these reduced low density lipids and increase high density lipids. They also have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and walnuts have twice as many antioxidants as any other nut. Avocados are packed full with vitamins, fiber, and potassium – 60% more than bananas.
Any high fiber foods help to “cleanse the digestive tract of potentially dangerous fats. ” These foods may include oats, beans, fruits, vegetables, and grains. (Top 5 Heart-Healthy Snacks) Healthy snacks such as these have been studied and found to reduce many types of diseases and disorders. Joint diseases, ADHD, schizophrenia, and many other diseases may be prevented through snacking on these healthy foods. (Healthy Snacking Benefits) Health and the Iowa State Community Our entire report and analysis has been conducted under the assumption that Iowa State University is a community afflicted by the pains of obesity and unhealthy eating.
To insure that combatting obesity would be both well received and relevant to Iowa State students and community, our team distributed a 7-question survey, prompting students to give us their true feelings on obesity’s affect on the community, what solutions they would find most effective, and if our goal of changing the vending machine products would cause any negative response. The short survey provides our group with much needed approval and validation from the community. If we had come to find that students would reject the proposed plan of action, steps could be made to resolve the issue and stay on course.
More so, if students had found obesity to be an irrelevant issue, our group would be hard-pressed to find funds for a problem that wasn’t seen to exist. Luckily, obesity is not out of the field of vision for the Iowa State community. When asked, “How much do you agree with the following statement, “Obesity is the biggest problem in the Iowa State University community”? 68% of respondents answered that they at least somewhat agreed (Table 2. 1). Table 2. 1 Without this approval from the community, efforts to change obesity trends would be wasted.
However, provided this overwhelming concern, it is now inherent that we offer the community a solid plan of action, that will produce real results, with little concern over life changes. One vital factor in our quest to make the ISU community healthier is the maintenance of one’s usual daily life. Abrupt changes can often bring depression and fear, and with a task as grand and as fragile as weight loss and health, we must tread lightly. Choosing a medium from which we would provide healthier food options is a difficult task, and so we must account for accessibility, frequency of use, and potential for change.
Iowa State University has made grand changes to it’s on-campus dining centers, but what about members of the community who do not have dining plans? Where do they buy the quickest, and often the most unhealthy, snacks? Vending machines. When over 150 students were asked, “How often do you purchase food items from vending machines located on campus? ” The overwhelming majority responded that they only purchased snacks from the vending machines on campus a few times a month or year (Table 2. 2). Table 2. 2
Although targeting vending machines may not initially reach the greatest population of students or community members, changing the contents of the vending machines will prove to be worthwhile. When survey participants were told of the proposed method of changing obesity trends at ISU by replacing current vending machine items with healthier options, potential vending machine use increased (Table 2. 3). Table 2. 3 Clearly, Iowa State community members approve of the proposed method, not only as beneficial for the community as a whole, but our solution remains as one that everyone would take part in; overweight or not.
Approval from the community is especially important, however it does not prove to be an authoritative reason for replacing the current vending machine items. To acquire the approval of funds from the GSB and Ames community, it is imperative that an expert weighs in on how to best alleviate the impact of obesity at Iowa State University. In an interview with ISU’s Director of Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, and author of “Eat Simpler, Healthier with New Healthy & Homemade” cookbook, Peggy Martin states that, “making healthy choices takes planning. Within a world of homework, projects, exams, and extracurricular activities, what ISU student has time to plan? Replacing unhealthy snack option in the vending machines on ISU campus will cut the hassle of planning out each meal. ISU community members will no longer leave their apartments worrying about finding healthy food because it will be more accessible, available in each building, wherever a vending machine is located. Registered dietician Martin also provided our team with concrete example of healthy foods that can be sold in vending machines.
Implementing our solution as soon as possible is key, as Martin says, “eliminating temptation in today’s sugar-ridden environment will prove difficult, but worthwhile. ” Meso-level analysis of ISU community members through survey, and micro-level analysis of individual nutrition through interviewing Peggy Martin provides our team with necessary information needed to be successful on Iowa State campus. With the revamping of vending machine products ISU community members will be more likely to purchase vending machine snacks; increasing profit, health, and awareness.
Conclusions and Recommendations 1. Implementation of vending machines One solution to the obesity problem that ISU students face on campus is to change and regulate the university’s vending machines. The existing vending machines in use have little to no variety or choice of healthy foods. Most beverage type vending machines only have water as a choice as a healthy alternative. With giving students the selection of health foods, it will lower their risk of obesity during their stay at Iowa State.
According to an article by the journal of adolescent health “contents of school vending machines relate to diets either positively or negatively, depending on what is sold in them. Therefore, it is important that schools address the quality of food sold in vending machines in their wellness policies” (Rovner 18). This means that the healthier foods in vending machines relate positively to diets and junk food relates negatively. By putting in only the vending machines with healthy food on our campus we will see a positive correlation with the students’ diets. . Variety of foods to see what sells best Before replacing over 100 vending machines on campus we want to make sure the products are going to make revenues for the college. We can test out different types of products that will be available by replacing current vending machines in popular locations like the C-Stores and providing samples of the alternative products. By doing this we can get an idea of what is popular among the students. After we find out what products sell best, we can put them into our vending machines. 3. Wellness programs
Because of the tax on the junk foods, we will be able to create other wellness programs to help students having obesity or health related issues. Some programs may consist of having a free health screenings to show the negatives of unhealthy eating and giving recommendations on new healthy lifestyles. We can give health tips and guides for people who want to change their eating habits. These programs will mainly be funded by taxing the junk foods that are sold on campus. 4. Cost of healthy foods subsidized by taxing junk food Healthy food is not relatively expensive, but some foods have a short shelf life.
The costs of replenishing these items in the vending machines are going to be slightly high because of human capital cost, having someone go and replace the vending machines routinely, and waste cost because of the foods’ expiration date. There are those processed healthy foods that cost more than normal ones because of the process to keep the nutrients in them cost more. To subsidize these costs, we can put an extra charge or tax on to the existing junk foods. It is not economical for Iowa State to get rid of all junk food that people do want; by giving it a tax we can level the cost of buy and replacing the healthy ones.
This will give students an incentive to choose the healthy foods because of the cheaper cost and may change the students eating habits. References “Healthy Snacking Benefits. ” EverydayHealth. com. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://www. everydayhealth. com/diet-nutrition/meal-planning/healthy-snacking-benefits. aspx>. “Nutrition. com. sg – Healthy Eating – Snack Attacks. ” Object Moved. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://www. nutrition. com. sg/he/hesnack. asp>. CAROLLO, KIM. “Top 5 Heart-Healthy Snacks. ” ABC News. ABC News Network, 26 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. lt;http://abcnews. go. com/Health/top-heart-healthy-snacks/story? id=15996098>. “2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet. ” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 May 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www. cdc. gov/>. Boyles, Salynn. “Sodas and Your Health: Risks Debated. ” WebMD. WebMD, 09 Mar. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www. webmd. com/>. Ogden, Cynthia L. , Margaret D. Carroll, Brian K. Kit, and Katherine M. Flegal. “Prevalence of Obesity in the United States. ” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jan. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www. cdc. gov/>. Pelch, Anna. “The Health Effects of Soda Consumption. ” Home. St. Joseph’s Academy. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. ;http://scijourner. org/;. Rovner, Alisha J. , Tonja R. Nansel, Jing Wang, and Ronald J. Iannotti. “Food Sold in School Vending Machines Is Associated With Overall Student Dietary Intake. ” Journal of Adolescent Health 48. 1 (2011): 13-19. Science Direct. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. Interview with Peggy Martin Survey (Appendix) Appendix I Survey: The Iowa State Community and Health
Participant, Thank you for choosing to participate in this short survey. With your help, you can aid our efforts to convert Iowa State University campus to one that promotes healthy food choices. All information obtained is anonymous and will only be used for an English 302 class project. All survey questions are optional and you may stop your completion of the survey at any time. Thank you for your contribution! How much do you agree with the following statement, “Obesity greatly affects the population of the United States”? A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neutral D. Disagree E.
Strongly Disagree How much do you agree with the following statement, “Obesity is a problem in the Iowa State University community”? A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neutral D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree How often do you purchase food items from vending machines located on campus? A. More than 3 times a week B. Once or twice a week C. A few times a month D. A few times a year E. Never How much do you agree with the following statement, “The items currently available for purchase on the ISU campus do not reflect the purchases I would prefer to make”? A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C.
Neutral D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree If the vending machines on ISU campus had healthier options you would be: A. More likely to purchase items from the vending machines B. Equally as likely to purchase items from the vending machines C. Less likely to purchase items from the vending machines D. I do not use the vending machines on ISU campus How much do you agree with following statement, “Iowa State University is responsible for providing the community with healthier food options on campus”? A. Strongly Agree B. Agree C. Neutral D. Disagree E. Strongly Disagree