It is strongly believed that eating a healthy and balanced diet helps in reducing mortality, and as well checks the risk of contracting various fatal illnesses, like coronary heart diseases and cancer. (Gaziano J, Manson J. Diet, and Heart disease. The role of fat, alcohol, and antioxidants. J. Clin. Cardiol. 1996; 14:69-83).
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Some studies by the Health Education Authority have revealed the importance and what constitutes a healthy balanced diet. Also, in a white paper issued on the government’s health of the nation, the importance of a healthy balanced diet has been stressed, so that all the people should remain healthy always. (Department of Health. The Health of the Nation. A strategy for Health in England. London: HMSO, 1992).
Another thing related to this topic is that most of the testy foods, which people consumed, are the ones that are bad for the health, according to 44% of the respondents. While 39% believed that, eating healthy food is expensive, and 16% are of the view that, healthy eating is just another fashion. These are the direct cost of eating a healthy diet (Health Education Authority. Health in England 1995. What People know, what people think, what people do. London: office For National Statistics, 19995).
Apart from this, the indirect cost should be taken into consideration. Some of them include; more time for shopping for fresh produce and the amount of time spent cooking.
Another thing is knowledge acquisition as well as the stress of convincing family members to forgo some items and concentrate on others. (Cade J, Booth S. What can people eat to meet dietary goals and how much does it cost? J. Hum. Nutr. 1997).
So, the major aim of the Health Fair is to promote good healthy living with particular regard to eating a healthy and balanced diet.
What is a “Health Fair”? A health fair is a health and wellness promotional event open to some segment of the public. It may be a single-purpose event, or part of a larger community event, such as an installation open house.
The term “health fair” may be used by its organizers to describe anything from a purely informational event open only to health care beneficiaries to a screening or testing program open to all members of the public. DoD 5500.7-R, Joint Ethics Regulation, paragraph 3-200, et seq.; AR 210-1.).
Health fairs must be limited to information and education. No patient care may be provided. One reason for this limitation is that it is usually not practical to limit attendance to DoD health care beneficiaries at a public event. Equally important is the risk of liability created by providing health care without appropriate follow-up.
It also involves some specifications like choosing the site, getting health care materials, linking people to services, screening, and health care education and children’s area of activity.
On the 24th of April 2006, we run a health promotion fair with the topic Healthy Eating Healthy Balanced Diet, at the University Forum from 10 am-2 pm. This topic was chosen to strengthen support from the student, staff, and lecturer, with the aim of increasing their awareness of the dangerous risk factors in lack of adherence to Healthy Eating and Healthy Balanced Diet.
The term Health promotion, in general, is the process by which people improve or have control over the determinants of their health. It is a way through which to take concrete action regarding their health conditions (OHN 2003).
It is done with people, either individual or group, thereby strengthening their skills and capabilities to take action in improving their health individually or collectively.
For easy comprehension of the whole fair program, it would be advisable to give some background information about: What is health promotion? What is healthy eating within the UK? What is the health fair intended to achieve? And why did we choose this topic and the target group?
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Health promotion about Healthy eating, Involves the combination of strategies for it to succeed. These strategies intend to create supportive environments for health and equitable chances for everybody, which allow the population to stay healthy, by trying to address some major health challenges facing the nations, to solve them. (Health Protection Agency for Northern Ireland 2003).
Some of these risk factors all include getting diseases like, Coronary Heart Disease or stroke, as a result of poor healthy eating which negates a healthy balanced diet. We tried to offer our customers: verbal counseling, written information material, freebies, a lot of samples of healthy dietary food, and other things. (OHN 2003).
This health promotion activity provides a critical appraisal of the healthy eating and healthy balanced diet fair planning process, the teamwork and group dynamics, the delivery of the Health Fair itself, and the evaluation of this event.
For example, the United Kingdom used the Health promotion techniques in solving and addressing some of the national strategies like: Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation: cancer, Coronary Heart Disease, accidents, and mental illness And these strategies have helped a lot in improving the health conditions of most of its citizens. (OHN 2003).
As the reorientation of the health services is needed towards health improvement, health promotion should, therefore, include actions that would be directed at the determinants of health, outside the immediate control of individuals, like social, economic, and environmental conditions; and those that are within the immediate control of individuals, which including individual health behaviors (Health Protection Agency for NorthernIreland2003).
There are a lot of debates concerning healthy eating and a healthy balanced diet in the United Kingdom. Part of the debate is that Consumers need clear health information and are advised to “eat more fruit and vegetables” without guidance on the quantities involved, and another popular piece of advice is for people to eat “five portions a day.”
This literature, therefore, provides a rationale for determining which foods are included within these bits of advice and how much should be taken to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
The government’s nutrition task force has recently decided to provide information to consumers on the amounts of fruit and vegetables, bread, cereals, and fish recommended for a healthy diet, and also set up a subcommittee to advise on simple and practical ways to consume these foods (Seinmetz K, Potter J. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention. A review. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 1996; 10: 1020-39).
But, as the advice encourages people to simply consume more”, different interpretations concerning which fruit and vegetables are included were given and their actual amounts.
Nevertheless, no universally accepted convention exists on which foods should be included in health advice on fruit and vegetables.
Therefore, when different definitions are used, the interpretation of dietary surveys can be conflicting and misleading conclusions can be drawn about current levels of fruit and vegetable consumption.
This lack of clarity on the status of these controversial foods leads to confusion and uncertainty among consumers. Disagreement among academics and health professionals, over these issues, lends further weight to the public perception that nutrition experts “never agree.”
For instance, advice that simply recommends eating “more” gives consumers no indication of how much is reasonable and allows complacency about present levels of consumption.
An outcome of a studying Scotland on fruit and vegetable consumption testifies that respondents’ intake of fruit and vegetables was low (less than two portions a day) 55% thought that they were eating enough and already eating more.
Also, the nutrition task force, In England, noted that “even where consumers are aware of the main healthy eating messages; they are often not sure how to put them into appropriate food choices.”
Thus, providing quantified and practical advice on healthy intakes of foods can assist in solving the problem.
Before the publishing of the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food Policy’s cardiovascular review group report in November 1994, there were no national numerical goals for fruit and vegetable consumption within some UK countries- England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Although, the Scottish diet report in 993, recommended that, Scotland’s population should eat an average of at least 400 g of fruit and vegetables (excluding potatoes) a day. (Seinmetz K, Potter J. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention. A review. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 1996; 10: 1020-39).
This is in line with the World Health Organization’s report on Diet, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, for fruit and vegetable consumption. The cardiovascular review group recommends a 50% increase, in the mean population intake of fruit and vegetables. (World Health Organization (who) Diet, Nutrition and prevention of Chronic Diseases. WHO Technical Report Series, No.797. Geneva: WHO, 1990).
The estimates current consumption of fruit and vegetables in Britain vary. The Survey, estimated the mean consumption of fruit and vegetables to be around 275 g, per person, a day, which excludes foods eaten outside homes and was based on households, to includes the amounts eaten by small children.
It also uses the weight of foods bought, not eaten, which includes the weight of peel, core, and discard outer leaves, etc. Even though the figures have been adjusted from the National Food Survey, to take this into account using some factors for edible proportions estimate is that the mean weight of fruit and vegetables consumed is around 240 g/day.
Also, data gathered from the Dietary and Nutritional Survey of British Adults, which recorded amounts actually consumed and includes food eaten outside the home, indicate a mean adult consumption of fruit and vegetables of around 250 g a day.
A 50% increase in consumption on these figures, would raise mean intakes to about 375 g and purchases to around 435 g a day.
Although these figures are lower, they are still equal to the 400 g target of the Scottish diet and the World Health Organization’s reports.
Finally, for the practical interpretation of this 400 g target, popular health magazines have advised consumers to eat “at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day” based on “decent-sized” portions of around 80 g..” Web.
Public awareness campaign of “at least five” messages has been adopted in Britain, with frequent slots in the popular media. This type of campaign has been used in Europe against the Cancer program and several commercial promotions got their root from there. the concept is also well established in the United States.
Despite all these, the concept has no accurate figures available on the number of servings of fruit and vegetables consumed in Britain. According to the Ministry of Agriculture comparison of mean intakes on average portion sizes as published by the Fisheries, and Food (table I) suggests, that people, particularly, those in lower economic groups are using fewer than five proportions a day.
Therefore, we do not know whether the five concept messages the desired dietary changes. (Department of Health. The Health of the Nation. A strategy for Health in England. London: HMSO, 1992).
The rationale behind the health promotion fair was to inform people, particularly; students on healthy eating and a healthy balanced diet, to impart health education that would help them prevent themselves from contracting diseases, and if possible, make them change a special unhealthy behavior. (Texas Cooperative Extension 2002).
This could be done by providing health screenings, activities, materials, and demonstrations in the target area that is the University. In the end, the participants could be motivated to make positive health behavior changes: Teach self-care practices; Identify topics and participants for future health programs.
Now that the most important terms are explained this work proceeds with the planning of our Health Fair.
At the initial stage, our chosen topic is ‘Healthy Eating and Healthy Balanced Diet’. Our concentration point on this topic is imparting health education with an emphasis on dietary prevention and protection of health which are the aims of the project.
Projects intend to reviews the overall health sector organization, therefore, the health promotion plans are meant to fulfill the aim and the target community in focus. (VCAA).
Apart from the aims of the fair, there were also the objectives of the project. Some of these objectives included: promoting Balance Diet, giving labeling information, raising awareness on the intake of sugar, fats, and salt.
Our target group was the University Community, irrespective of age, sex, social class, or ethnic affiliations. The fair was to be held within the campus, and therefore, students were to be interviewed.
The attention was then focused on our team. By team, I, mean the members of our group, which consisted of five people. There was no appointed team leader, everybody could be the leader. For instance, I sometimes played the role of the group leader, a team worker, or a completer. Our goal was to achieve a successful health fair. And we tried to make sure adequate communication was maintained among us. We used to send e-mails or held group discussions in our class.
Also within the University community, we co-opted some of the students and lecturers to form part of our support team. The lecturers provided us with a clear theoretical framework, clever advice for a successful fair, while the students assisted with the provision of chairs, tables, movable walls, etc.; just to ensure a successful health fair.
Out of the University community, we contacted Tesco Stores and other food organizations to provide us with some food samples. I contacted the Local Dietician to also join us at the fair day.
My colleagues also, contacted the Students’ Forum to provide us with boards for fosters as well as contribute with samples of fruits on the day the fair was going to hold.
Towards the end of the project planning, we were able to get full support from the British Heart Foundation, Meat, Flour, and Diary industry bodies, Vegetarian Associations, Diabetes UK, Department of Health, and Food Standards Agencies, which provided us with leaflets.
BMI also helped with the provision of the fat machine, weight machine, and some leaflet. And Internet Food for Life website supplied us with a balance wheel foster printer and information about food labeling.
At the last stage, we decided to bring some samples products of the new traffic lights labeling and the usage of a plain T-shirt. Then the student authorized the display of fosters, with two additional tables for the dieticians, three chairs, and two knives.
One important thing to note is that the fair advertisement fosters were published on the University’s website before the exact fair, twenty-four hours a week.
Considering what the literature says concerning project planning, I can say our group has tried to be familiar with each other. We were right in a stage of Forming′ (VCAA 2003) and everybody behaved cautiously.
We also hoped the Health promotion Fair to be held in a conducive and familiar environment that could allow easier participation of customers as well as the dissemination of useful information, (Ewles, L. and Simnett, I. 2003, p.107).
All that has come under this heading is a systematic action plan, which could assist in identifying responsible persons, resources, timescale, and means of evaluation to follow, (Naidoo, J. & Wills, J. 2002, and p.360).
Even though I had no experience in planning such an event, I behaved more like a monitor evaluator (Meredith Belbin, R. 2002, p. 22). I tried tactfully; to influence the group for positive decisions. I was able to give sound contributions and suggestions, which fitted well in the implementation of the Fair.
In a summary and concerning the project planning and what the literature says, I and the rest of the members of the group, hope to conduct an exemplary health promotion fair-Healthy Eating and Healthy Balance Diet.
By protocols and parameters in health promotion, we mean rules and guidelines that have to be followed when a health promotion is to take place. And all the literature cited earlier is enough to serve the purpose.
On the day of the fair, we gathered early in the morning and started putting things in order. All the tables, chairs and movable walls were well arranged. All the posters and the leaflets were laid and posted. Fruits were also laid on the tables.
By 10 o’clock, we put on our t-shirts and got ready for the action. We started very quietly, but the venue became lively when fruits and leaflets were being distributed to students around the University.
Half an hour after the game has started, students came out on a break and the place became the busiest in the University. I was to attract more students by offering them fruits and lecturing them about a balanced diet.
When the news about the event spread to the University, the place started becoming filled up. Everywhere were students, lecturers, and those interested to catch a glimpse of the fair. But, I notice besides what we have to offer in imparting knowledge on healthy eating and healthy balanced diet, some people were attracted by the way the venue was beautified. (Ewles, L. and Simnett, I. 2003, p.107).
As time went on, I became surprised with turning up participants. I kept on giving explanations on the chosen topic and the distribution of leaflets and fruits. This proved my earlier expectation, that students and other members of the University community would approach us if something was offered to them. I′ have never had such an experience before. (Meredith Belbin, R. 2002, p.22).
I also had so much fun discussing with the students and giving them advice on healthy eating and a healthy balanced diet. The Fair was trouble-free in my stand and it seemed to be the same at the other stand.
As I witnessed my expected events, I also encountered some unexpected ones. I could remember, when welcoming a student to the fair, I approached by saying: ‘would you like to know what we are doing today? It is something on a healthy balanced diet”. But, the lady shouted at me rudely: ‘Does that mean am not healthy? I am f……. fat.’ I was really embarrassed and deeply touched until my mood changed. Nevertheless, the act did not distract me from forging ahead to the success of the fair.
The Fair ended by 2 pm exactly. But, even as we remove our fair items, people rushed in to ask for leaflets and fruits. We later cleaned up the Forum thoroughly, packed everything, and left the place contented. The photo shots of our movable walls decorated with leaflets, and fosters, including the one displaying fruits, explained the success of the fair.
Health Promotion Fairs are normally evaluated in terms of educational outcome, the outcome on empowerment or behavior change (Naidoo J. & Wills, J. 2002, p.91-101), or only the satisfaction with the Fair. We also have got some information from our customers or participants with which we can assess and evaluate our Health Fair.
There were three questions we posed to the participants of the Fair. In the first question: Did you know anything about a healthy balanced diet? 30 respondents answered ‘Yes’, while 35 answered ‘No’.
The second question: Has the health fair helped in improving your knowledge about a healthy balanced diet? 62 respondents answered ‘Yes’, while only 3 answered ‘No’.
The third question was: Was the health fair useful? 64 of the respondents answered ‘Yes’, while 1 person only, answered, ‘No’.
Also, the result of the counting leaflets on distribution, showed their numbers as follows:
- Healthy eating, 64.
- Label food safety, 127.
- Salt, 22.
- Sugar 28.
- Fats 11.
- Vitality eating 2.
Even though, the students were asking a lot about the new traffic lights food labeling. Their intention, probably, was to get enough gist on the topic of the fair itself.
From my observation, the participant of this fair, would at the end of the day, experienced a wholesome package of healthy eating and a healthy balanced diet, which will considerably assist them in conforming to the rules of proper dietary application for the prevention and protection of illness.
I also acknowledged what they have so far said about the Fair. Their comments were positive and encouraging.
Furthermore, we had no serious problems during the Fair. And it was acceptable to everybody. We had fun and a good team spirit, that day.
Finally, from the experience I got, I learned a lot in the event of this fair. The most interesting part of my experience was that some customers took us for professionals and even went to the extent of calling me a doctor.
I will, therefore, embarked on a new learning process, so that, my cap will fit in the Doctors’ cadre. And in the future, I will make sure a superb Health Promotion Fair that will play a considerable impact is arranged.
I can not say we have had a hitch-free Heath promotion fair, but, we experienced lower problems. Therefore, next time it would probably, be better. I concentrate more intensively on planning process theories – that prevent such problems.
It is also a good idea to discuss the fair group and leading roles it will play, even if it will amount to a change in the role allocation.
In conclusion, I can say the Health Fair was successful, because our target group, have got some useful information while participating in the Fair, and they found It good. The Fair ‘Healthy Eating Healthy Balance Diet’ Lifestyle′ had a favorable effect on the peoples’ life. And we were lucky because we did not encounter serious problems during the Fair. It was a good experience for me and my later working life.
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