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INTRODUCTION With America’s growing obesity rate, especially among children, we take a look at how Americans should fix their eating habits.


Taking a few minutes at the store can help cut down on eating the wrong type of foods.


Eating the right amounts of the right food can go a long way.

USI NG FOO DUSILNG A BFEOO L SD LAB E L S Food labels can be difficult to read and decipher for the typical American and so are often neglected in the process of choosing what to eat and the lack of knowledge of what to look for in a food label.

blood. You should still limit your cholesterol intake but not be scared of it. • Nutritionists agree that eating foods high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and low in fat is important.

• Trans fat education and promotion of food label use is needed to be taught so that people understand what they are. • Over the past two decades, it has been established that the consumption of Trans fats has adverse health effects such as an adverse relationship between Trans fat intakes and coronary heart disease risk. • Only 21% of people who actually new that there was a link between Trans fat and cardiovascular could name three foods that are sources of Trans fats. • Omega 3 fats are essential to not only your physical health but your emotional well-being. • Cut out saturated fats. • Cholesterol is good for you body in small amounts and is barely related to the cholesterol level in your

USI NG FOOD LABE LS • Being aware of “Functional Foods” can help join supplements and food when watched for. They have been around for a long time with things such as iodized salt and vitamin D milk. • Eating seafood in place of some meat and poultry. • Eat whole grains at least the equivalent of three 1 oz servings per day. • Use oils to replace solid fats • The recommended daily intake of Trans fats should be less than 1% of the total calories you eat in a day which corresponds to less than 2 grams of tans fats a day in a 2,000 calorie diet. • Keep your total fat intake to 20-35% of your daily calories. • Some foods that contain Trans fats are Granola bars, Margarine, Saltine Crackers, and Bisquick to name a few.

G FOO L SS USIN USI G N FO O DD LLABE A BEL • National data indicates that less than 3% of men and less than 6% of women aged 19-50 years consume the daily servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by MyPyramid. • Eat around 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. • Eating fruits and vegetables is not enough. It is good to eat a variety of dark-green, red, and orange vegetables, beans, and peas. • It is best to eat fresh foods that are in season where you live.

USI NG FOOD LA BE LS • Seasonal foods are those that are in season where you live. • Seasonal foods can be determined by what is sold at your local farmer’s market or community garden. There are also websites such as that lets you see what is in season for your state. • When buying food from locals the money you pay goes directly to the farmer and not shipping costs. • You can ask the farmer how your food is grown and are guaranteed food that is fresh and can build consumer loyalty. • Consumers who utilize farmers markets valued the produce variety available above those of traditional supermarkets. • Farmers markets have the potential to improve access to and utilization of fresh produce by communities.

F O O D P O R TIO N S Eating out has become more common for Americans; this correlates with the increase in American obesity. • The number of eating establishments in the United States increased by 75 percent between 1977 and 1991. • “Key foods” (salty snacks, desserts, soft drinks, fruit drinks, French fries, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pizza, and Mexican food) account for 18 percent of calories consumed in the United States in 1977-1978 and 27.7% of all calories in 1994-1996. • Most food served in restaurants is low in vitamins and nutrients and very high in calories and fat. • The frequency of eating out, particularly at fast-food restaurants, is associated with an increase in energy and fat intake and with a higher body mass index.

• One study showed that Americans selected foods that are, on average, slightly higher in fat and cholesterol and slightly lower in other nutrients than foods eaten at home.

FOOD POR TIONS Portion sizes have increased significantly over the past few decades. • Hamburgers have expanded by 23 percent. • A plate of Mexican food is 27 percent bigger. • Soft drinks have increased in size by 52 percent. • Snacks, whether they be potato chips, pretzels or crackers, are 60 percent larger. • Plates themselves increased in the early 1990s from standard 10 inches in diameter to 12 inches. • The prevalence of adult obesity in the United States has increased from 14.5 in 1971 to 30.9 percent in 1999.

F O O D PO R TIO N S The key to healthy eating is choosing to consume more nutrientdense foods. There are ways to control your portion sizes or caloric intake when eating at home. Self-monitoring, also known as food diaries, has been suggested as the cornerstone for successful weight management and maintenance among adolescents.

BE YOUR OWN AGENT The FDA has tried to put in place ways to try and protect the American public, but it’s not perfect. ADVANTAGES TO FDA: • People feel secure • Competition in the market for healthy and quality foods. • People do not get sick as often. DISADVANTAGES TO FDA: • People lose some of their freedom • The price is higher with the regulation • It’s more difficult to put more products on the line

WRITER: Emily Williams David Masci “Can Certain Foods Fight Disease?” Diet and Health Volume 11 Issue 7 23 Feb. 2001. Web. 7 March 2012. Melanie Jay, Jennifer Adams, Sharon J. Herring, Coleen Gellepsie, Tavinder Ark, Henry Feldman, Sondra Zabal, Vicky Jones, David Stevens, Adina Kalet “A Randomized Trial of a Brief Multimedia Intervention to Improve Comprehension of Food Labels” Preventative Medicine Volume 48 Issue 1 28 October 2008. Web. 7 March 2012 FDA “Eat for a Healthy Heart” 8 Feb. 2011. Web. 7 March 2012. Graduated as Salutatorian from Carey High School in 2009 and has studied Theater/ Speech Education at Brigham Young University- Idaho for three years with a minor in Journalism and an emphasis on Interpersonal Communication. Sources: David H. Holben “Farmers Markets Fertile Ground for Optimizing Health” Journal of the American Dietetic Association Volume 110 Issue 3 23 Feb. 2010. Web. 7 March 2012. Lacey Arneson McCormack, Melissa Nelson Laska, Nicole I. Larson, Mary Story “Review of the National Implications of Farmer’s Markets and Community Gardens: A Call for Evaluation and Research Efforts” Journal of the American Dietetic Association Volume 110 Issue 3 23 Feb. 2010. Web. 7 March 2012. Paula Jones, Rajiv Bhatia “Supporting Equitable Food Systems through Food Assistance at Farmers’ Markets” American Journal of Public Health Volume 101 Issue 5 May 2011. Web. 7 March, 2012 Jasti Sunitha, Kovacs Szilvia “Use of Trans Fat Information on Food Labels and It’s Determinants in a Multiethnic College Student Population” Journal of Nutritio n Education and Behavior Volume 42 Issue 5 16 July 2010. Web. 7 March 2012.

Melinda Smith, Maya W. Paul, Robert Segal “Choosing Healthy Fats” February 2012. Web. 7 March 2012. Reflection: Several years ago I ran across the food issue of unpasteurized milk. I wanted to know why the FDA was cracking down on so many dairy farmers especially in places like Wisconsin. After a lot of research from other countries that have differing opinions on the matter I decided that it should be a personal choice what we eat or drink and that it is the FDA’s job to warn us the health risks and that their job should focus on regulating company production to prevent things such as the peanut butter poisoning. It is important for everyone to have access to healthy and fresh food. Through several experiences I have found it easiest to make this choice by visiting my local farmers market. The health awareness that is raised by being surrounded by fresh produce that is made affordable can attract a wide range of consumers. The advantage to a farmers market is that I can get foods that are in season where I live that haven’t been shipped and best of all I get to choose which farmer I want to support and give my money to. This customer loyalty is given to someone who will take your money and spend it in the community building up your local economy adding to the many benefits of Farmer’s Markets.

WRITER: Angie Owens

Team member bios: Angie Owens. Pursuing a degree in Communications and Marriage & Family Studies and due to graduate in December. Beloved wife and mother of two very young daughters. Raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho, but currently living in Franklin, Tennessee. Has a passion for choral music about as strong as her love of BYU-Idaho. Enjoys her time as a member of the Nashville Community Choir and as a stay at home mom. Selection of issue: Our team selected the issue of the need for a focus on American Nutrition because it was a small step from our Policy panel debate on the pros and cons of the Food and Drug Administration’s influence on the American food supply. I was the peer who first suggested the FDA topic and after our debate of the topic was over, I suggested that we change the FDA focused topic for the issue book to a broader overall-nutrition focus. I suggested three different areas the issue book could cover, and the three writers selected a different part each for the issue book. We communicated through e-mail and came to this conclusion. Team member tasks: First, I contributed the topic and suggested focuses that the project could follow: You Are What You Eat: Helping Americans make better food selections. 1. Shopping for food (This means highlighting how to read labels, eating food that’s in season, going to farmers markets, etc.) 2. Portion Control (Being conscious of caloric intake, making nutrientdense food choices) 3. Be Your Own Agent (Just because something is FDA approved, doesn’t mean you should eat it. And vice versa; be aware of contaminants and know how to correctly prepare your food so you don’t get sick). I took over the second focus, Portion Control. I interviewed a Board Certified Nurse Manager of the Veterans Hospital in Nashville, TN, who has had much experience working with patience with diet-related illnesses. I contributed research on the effects of eating out often, and suggestions of how to moderate caloric intake when eating out or dining at home. I also reported studies that showed the increase in overall portion sizes served both in restaurants and in grocery stores and how people typically do not realize when they overeat. I touched on what the FDA recommends as far as serving size and the difference it makes to use self-control when making food choices (e.g. eating a fresh pear instead of a bag of chips as an afternoon snack). Strategic research: The following are the sources where I have pulled all of my research: Ross, Ramona. Personal interview. 16 Mar. 2012. “How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight” Nation-

al Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity 11 Oct 2011. Web. 7 Mar. 2012. <http://> “Do Increased Portion Sizes Affect How Much We Eat?” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. Research to Practice Series, No. 2, May 2006. Web 7 Mar. 2012. <> McBride, Judy “USDA Finds More and More Americans Eat Out, Offers Tips for Making Healthier Food Choices” United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. 20 Nov. 1996. Web. 8 Mar. 2012. USDA “Healthy Eating Tips: Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating out” Web. 8 Mar. 2012. < tips-for-eating-out.html> Leville, Kevin J. “Superfoods” Nutritional Excellence, LLC. Eat Right America. Web. 7 Mar. 2012. <> Poling, Colleen “Portion Distortion!” The Nutrition Translator. 2 May 2011. Web 10 March 2012 < portion-distortion/> Nielsen, Samara Joy and Barry M. Popkin, PhD. “Patterns and Trends in Food Portion Sizes, 1977-1998” Journal of the American Medical Association. JAMA, January 22/29, 2003—Vol 289, No. 4. Web. 10 Mar. 2012. <> Personal reflection: Although I already had a good amount of foreknowledge that consuming large portions of food, especially foods high in calories and low in nutrients (i.e. high energy foods) is a big problem that relates to the America’s high obesity rate, but I learned so much as I researched this focus directly. While I was enrolled in a nutrition class a couple of years ago, I learned the importance of making smart choice in relation to the foods and the amount thereof that we eat. It’s apparent that something has changed in the area of food amongst Americans in the past fifty years. People are simply getting fatter and fatter. Even though the American lifestyle has changed—people rely a lot more on technology than we used to, and the average American also eats out significantly more than previous eras in American history. I admit that even I have fallen victim of the addicting foods available in the drive-thru lanes, and in the frozen dessert aisle of the grocery store many times in my life. What I have discovered through research is that it is important to exercise self-control and discipline when it comes to food intake and portion sizes. On the back of every packaged food is recommended portion sizes. It is important to follow those guidelines in order to maintain a healthy weight. It is also important to make food choices that are nutrient-dense, meaning that the nutritional value as far as essential vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health are greater in relation to the number of calories. Through my research, I found a chart that listed many foods according to their ANDI score, meaning their nutrient density. I thought that it was very interesting that Kale is the most nutrient dense food that we know of. It is also interesting to me to discover that olive oil has the same ANDI score as vanilla ice cream. Overall, my discoveries through online research were pale in comparison to what I learned from my personal interview with Ramona Ross, a nurse manager at the VA hospital in Nashville. She informed me of the programs set in place for veterans who are battling obesity and diet-related illnesses. It was also interesting to learn that overall veterans prefer fatty, energy-dense foods, instead of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Of course, why wouldn’t they? It’s addicting and attractive to the taste buds. It is reassuring that there are programs in place to help these individuals break these bad eating habits.

WRITER: Ryan Checketts

e. There are some pretty gross food facts out there that can really affect us.

My name is Ryan Checketts. I was born in Utah and I moved around about 20 times before coming to BYUI. I served my mission for the LDS church in Oakland, California. I was raised to not be picky and try everything. While on my mission I learned that there are some foods that no one should try. I got really sick after eating some chicken that was not prepared right. I believe our team selected this issue because it affects a lot of people and some of us felt that it was appropriate and others thought the government is pushing their authority. I was impartial to the issue and wanted to do more research to figure out what side was more important than the other. Team member tasks: I was writer three. a. Many companies avoid the FDA by claiming their food product is actually used for medicinal purposes. b. The FDA will sometimes hurry to a decision that is not always the best. c. It is important to pasteurize milk in order to kill harmful bacteria. d. There are many contaminants that can really hurt humans if they are in the foods we eat or drink.

Before this project, I did not think much of food. I know it is an important part of my life but I have never thought of it like I did during the project. It is gross to think what some people eat around the world, who do not have the rules and regulations that our country has. It is nice to not have to worry as much when I go to the grocery stores. I think prices would be lower if the FDA did not step in to regulate the food industry. I am actually fairly pleased that the FDA does in fact step in and regulate the food industry. I am glad my family is safe not only at home but also when they go over to other peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home if they want to eat there. I remember reading slaughterhouse five in high school. It is about the early days in America when people were migrating to the US. I remember a specific part when they described the room where they butchered the animals. They described how all the insides, including fecal matter, were put into a hole in the middle of the room and were later made into sausage. I am so glad I do not live during those times. After doing the research I think I benefit much more with the FDA than without it.

EDITOR: Justin McKissick

This is an issue I personally struggle with, and working on this project gave me the opportunity to reflect on the things I need to work on in my own life. While reading through the research of my group members, I was able to do research of my own. What I learned was that not only was the information relevant for me right now, but also for the future. While working on this project I had not previously thought about spending time looking at labels on food. But now, I realize that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not only important for me, but for everybody to understand what the labels on food really stand for. Something that I took out of this issue was that being healthy is so much more than exercising. It also has to do with eating the right foods and the right amount of portions. Often times I find myself feeling guilty if I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t finish the plate in front of me, when I should be feeling the desire to be more cautious in how much I eat, as well as what I eat.

Now that this project is finished, I set the goal to hold myself more accountable not only for what I eat, but for how much I eat. What I plan on doing to improve my health is eating out less, and eating more from home by using only fresh ingredients, which includes more fruits and vegetables, and monitoring my portion sizes. By holding myself to a higher standard, I know that I will be helping myself as well as being more healthy to spend better time with my family.

FDA Issue Book  

Our group Issue Book about how the American public can improve their heath through their eating habits.