Monthly Archives: February 2012

Best Manager Ever

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I have been working at the Bozeman Tarantino’s for 3 ½ years now.  Since I’ve been there, I have seen many managers come and go.  One truly stands out to me, and to this day she was the best manager I’ve ever had.  Her name was Jo, and she was managing the restaurant when I was first hired.  She knew the restaurant like the back of her hand, and was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.  Not only did she have a wonderful relationship with everyone that worked there, she was also very tight with the owner, Paul Tarantino.

There are four steps to becoming a respectable manager.  It starts with planning, Jo was always on top of things, for instance, when we would have a 20 pizza order due the next day, she would be prepping for the order a day early, and was the first one at the restaurant pressing pizza skins in the morning.  She was also in charge of ordering the pizza ingredients every week, which took plenty of experience because pizza was sold differently every day.  This also took organization skills.  Sundays through Wednesdays were normal 10:00 am to 10:00pm days.  Thursdays through Saturdays we stayed open till 3:00 am for the late night crowd.  The late night shifts were the busiest shifts by far, so Jo always made sure that the dinner shifts would prep for late night properly.  Everything was organized so that the late night cook was fully prepared.  Because Jo was such a great manager, everyone seemed to want to follow her footsteps.  She led everyone to be the best worker, but did it in a fun laid-back way.  For instance, if someone was working exceptionally well, she would take them out for drinks after their shift, or buy them dinner.  Finally, she controlled all of us respectfully. She knew that most of us were students with lots of other important things going on, and she was very fair when it came to scheduling.  But she would get on your ass if you were slacking at work.  Jo was the best manager I have ever dealt with, and I’ve worked many different jobs.  I’m happy I have met her, and hope to one day be able to manage a business like her.

Cognitive-Behavioral Theory

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Chapter 15 of Community Nutrition in Action discusses different theories in which people understand and achieve behavioral change. Many different theories have been created which attempt to explain why people make certain decisions that change their behavior. An example would be someone starting a diet and work out program because he or she is over weight.  A behavioral change like this will alter the daily life of an individual, usually creating life-changing benefits. But why doesn’t everyone change his or her behavior for good.  This chapter explains some of these theories.

One of the theories I found interesting was the Cognitive-Behavioral Theory.  The Cognitive-Behavioral Theory is usually applied when groups of people have a sense of self-efficacy, and are motivated to make a change in their behavior.  The theory deems all behaviors learned are directly related to internal factors (e.g. thoughts) and external factors (e.g. environmental stimuli and social response).   Applicants are instructed to follow different strategies to recognize thoughts and actions that lead poor eating and lifestyle habits.  Some strategies include goal setting, social support, self-motorizing, problem solving, and stimulus control.

A nutritional education plan could be created in high schools and colleges that follow the Cognitive-Behavioral Theory.  An example I thought of would be a class that students had the option to take, in which grades would be distributed by means of reaching certain health goals as the class goes on.  First, having the class be optional would filter out people who were not serious of changing their behaviors. Next, the class would allow students to create goals (e.g. lose 10 lbs or lower blood sugar).  Students could then be coached on how to attain these goals through eating habits and physical activity. Teachers could monitor student’s progress of accomplishing their goals throughout the course and grade them appropriately.

Farm to School

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The National Farm to School Network is a program that enables schools to supply local food for their students.  Farm to School believes that feeding students with local food can provide many benefits to a society.  First, it teaches students and community members about connections between food and where it comes from; beginning with the farmer and their environmental impact to grow food, to the nutritional importance of fresh food.  The next benefit with the Farm to School program is improving students’ nutrition by feeding them more fruits and vegetables. This can reduce the occurrence of obesity, and help reduce hunger.  School can save money if farmers can plan on supplying food that is in season on a consistent basis.  It can create more jobs in a society, and adds new markets for farmers, ranchers, fishers, and processors.  Not to mention, keeping food local reduces the use of oil, reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses.

The program took a lot of time to be implemented.  It was first thought of in 1996, and the USDA supported the establishment of the program in 2000.  Many states began to organize schools and local farmers for the next 5 years, until in 2005 the first grant from Kellogg was given.  The website was then created, and the Farm to School Network blew up, and by 2008 over 2000 programs were established in 39 states.  By 2010, all 50 states had adopted a Farm to School program, and in 2011 the White House Task Force Report on Childhood Obesity recognized the Farm to School Network as a strategy for preventing obesity.

The Farm to School Network is a exciting new program designed to improve the health of schools and communities.  I feel that this is a much-needed change in our food system.  The jobs it can create, and the way it helps people seems almost to good to be true.  Hopefully it succeeds and continues to grow.

Obesity Monitoring

                                                           Obesity is a rising threat to our nations overall health. It can be very costly to society because it increases the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and selected cancers, just to name a few.  Nearly 130 million Americans live with at least one chronic disease, that’s 45% of the population, and its estimated that by 2025 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a chronic disease. This has lead to an increase in demand for health care.  Obesity alone is said to cost U.S. companies 13 billion dollars annually to cover insurance.(1) Obesity rates are more common in low income neighborhoods.  The availability of high energy food that contains fat and sugar is more common than whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  Not to mention the cost of these high energy quickly prepped (if any) meals are cheaper than other healthier alternatives.

One of the best ways to tackle the issue of obesity its through the school systems.  Students are much easier to help with issues like this because they are grouped together on a daily basis.  Teaching health and nutrition education at a young age can prevent obesity, and help guide students toward healthy eating and living habits.  Schools should not cut physical education out of their curriculum.  Instead physical activity should be availably to students daily.  Healthier varieties of food should be available during school breakfast and lunch.  As students become older, cooking classes should be available to teach of the importance of a balanced meal, and dietary intake. Monitoring programs could take place, in which data would be collected on nutritional intake, daily physical activity, and nutritional knowledge.  This type of monitoring system in schools could drastically reduce the rate of obesity.  Not to mention create jobs.  If actions do not take place soon to stop the rise of obesity, future generations will become more dependent on health care, and possibly lower the life expectancy of the average American citizen.

Cite.   (1)http://www.fightchronicdisease.org/sites/default/files/docs/GrowingCrisisofChronicDiseaseintheUSfactsheet_81009.pdf

Nutrition and Food System Policies

 

         Policies are enacted when actions need to be taken in order to fix a problem.  Problems exist when there is a gap between the way things are and the way things should be.  There are five main steps when creating a policy. 

            Step one is problem definition and agenda settings.  This first step in the policy process is to convince other people that a problem exists, and is possible to fix.  Once a group of people become aware of a problem, the idea becomes a policy agenda, meaning an issue that exists in society. At this point, supporters want to expand the public’s knowledge and interest on the problem by using TV, newspapers, internet, and any other form of media.  The next step is the formulation of alternatives.  Solutions to the problem are thought out in this step.  People from all different backgrounds come together to solve a problem.  Groups could include experts in a field, interest groups, or anyone interested in the issue at hand.  Phase 3 is policy adoption.  Tools are chosen to fix the problem, such as money, grants, loans, tax breaks, fines, and programs.  Federal departments are concerned with this phase.  The DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) are involved when a policy affects human health and/or provides essential services to improve the health of Americans.  The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) provides natural resource leadership.  USDA involves itself with policies that ensure access to nutritious food and provide dietary guidance to Americans.  SNAP (Supplemental Nutritious Assistance Program) is an example of a policy within the USDA.  The fourth step is policy implementation.  This happens when the best solution has been found, the tools have been chosen, and the policy fits the needs and wants of the intended clientele. The policy is put into action during this phase.  Next the policy must be evaluated to see if it is working correctly.  Surveys and tests are conducted to see if people are happy, or if there are any alternatives to the policy that could be changed.

            Policies play a big role in nutrition and food system reform. Polices are constantly changing due to new markets, scientific and technological breakthroughs, and consumer attitudes. The American Dietetic Association is addressing current policies related to good systems and nutrition.  An example is child nutrition, which maintains local school wellness policies; improve nutritional food availability to children during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Another example is food safety, which implements ideas/actions to overcome threats of food insecurity.  This addresses food access, consumer protections, food information such as labeling ingredients and location. 

            Policy can change the overall health care system as well.  In terms of obesity, food production and transportation innovations have reduced costs of pre-made meals and processed foods, which is directly linked to increased calorie intake, which is a major factor behind obesity.  Policies could be made to limit the amount of processed foods available to children in school.   The Coordinated School Health Program is a policy that promotes healthful behaviors at school.  It focuses on health education, physical education, health services, nutritional services, counseling and social services, healthful school environments, and health promotion of staff and family.  Most policies dealing with obesity usually involve children because its important to focus on prevention at a young age, kids food habits are still malleable, and children are easier to round up because there all in school.