Entries for the ‘Food choices’ Category

Public Health in the U.S., Public Good, and the Affordable Care Act: Part II

Friday, January 10th, 2014

October 20, 2013

IMGP3159Most of us learn at a very young age what “medical doctor” means. Far fewer of us learn what “public health” means. Our nation’s public health system functions largely as a backdrop to promote the well-being of all of us in the U.S.  As a member of the Institute of Medicine–IOM–committee that wrote the report, “Who Will Keep the Public Healthy: Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century,” [http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2002/Who-Will-Keep-the-Public-Healthy-Educating-Public-Health-Professionals-for-the-21st-Century.aspx]  this reality emerged time and again, as we discussed and debated the roles that the public health force play.

I often teach Korean and Chinese graduate students who look to the U.S. for a model for public health and how to organize and deliver it in their countries where policies are newer and emerging.We tend to take for granted that someone has inspected the safety and health of restaurants where we eat, the meat and produce that we buy to consume, and the water quality coming into our work sites and homes. These “luxuries” sometimes become more salient when we visit outside the boundaries of the U.S.  In reality, these illustrate ways that our health is being safeguarded, not only for our individual well-being but for the health of all of us–with inoculations required for public school one of the most recognized acts taken for this aim.

The public good is served when actions are taken to protect and promote the health of each one of us as individuals in order to reduce the likelihood that any one of us will contribute to the illness of others and/or incur costs linked to the poor health of others. This principle frames some of the actions taken as part of the Affordable Care Act but has not been emphasized or clearly explained.

 

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What we all should know about the Food Safety Modernization Act

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

john and rox in riffle jcwp facebookSeptember 6, 2013

The news often tells us something about the quality of our food. It may be a story about salmonella and chicken. Or it may be about a recall based on something being in a food that should not be there–perhaps due to defective equipment in a processing plant or two foods getting mixed together or peanuts being present when they should not have been. These stories help us select healthy food and should make us realize how much is done to keep our food safe. One of the more recent policies relating to our food safety is explained at http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247559.htm and makes clear that illness from food remains a big problem. With one in six of us becoming ill from foodborne illness, more than 120,000 hospitalizations, and about 3,000 deaths each year–we should all be aware of what we can do to stay safe and what the modernization act does to make it more likely.

 

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“Your potassium level is low”–what fruits can do about this message from my doctor

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

August 23, 2013

IMGP0012Well, the annual check-up was mostly good news. My numbers were mostly good. 64 resting pulse. 120 over 78 for blood pressure. But then my doctor said, “Don’t you like fruit?” Huh?

“Your potassium is low. Don’t you like fruit?” I eat an apple almost every day, I say. He nods and says, “Eat more fruit.” OK. What kind? How much?

First, potassium–why is it important? I guess I could’ve asked but it seemed as if I was expected to know. And I knew I could find out online. Which I did.  Let’s just say that potassium is very important. It is crucial for heart function and for muscle contraction.

There are lots of food sources of potassium but I did find a ‘top 10’ list of fruits at  http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-potassium-fruits.php. Dried apricots are number 1 and bananas are on the list but much closer to the bottom. Prunes,  raisins, dates, and figs are on the list as well. I guess I will try a little harder to get some more of these in my daily routine.

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What vegetables have protein?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

August 18, 2013

ParrottCh7Fig2There is a tendency to think of protein as ‘meat’ and vegetarians as having a hard time getting enough protein in their diets. Actually, most vegetables have some protein. Even corn has some protein. The challenge in getting protein from vegetables is to know how much protein we need and how much protein a given vegetable has in it.

Taking corn, for example, you can get between 3 and 5 grams of protein, depending on whether the corn is fresh or cooked, in one cup of corn [see http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-protein-corn-7969.html]. That is about 3-9% of what we need in terms of protein in a day for a diet based on 1,800 calories.

There are different types of protein as well. So it is not just a matter of deciding to have 10 cups of corn to add up to your daily protein needs.

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