Subject: Creating a Healthy Nutrition Environment
There are more than 17,000 students from 100 different countries living and studying at the University of Missouri, Saint Louis. There are only seven small restaurants that offer food services. The biggest food court, the Nosh, harbors five restaurants but only a few of them offer fresh vegetables or fruits. Most students tend to settle for pizza, pasta, chicken tenders or burgers. The above mentioned are the best meal choices for students. These high-calorie foods make it easier to contract obesity and cardiovascular disease. They harm students and faculty member’s health every day. Students and faculty do not have a way of either knowing or controlling the number of calories they ingest from the food offered on campus.
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UMSL’s healthy nutrition facts system is focused on creating a healthy nutrition system for UMSL food service. This system creates a complete database of nutrition facts. It contains all the food types on campus and makes it easier for students and faculties to manage their calorie intake every day. Following the adoption of this system, students and faculty members will be easily exposed to healthy food recommendations, thereby reducing the risk of contracting obesity and other cardiovascular diseases.
The UMSL’s healthy nutrition facts system will include all the necessary information on nutrition facts. The facts are on different foods, clearly pointed for every food that people choose. It will improve the speed of ordering food and reduce the health risks among students and faculty members.
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Purposes of the Report
The proposal focuses on creating a healthy food environment for students and faculties from the University of Missouri, Saint Louis. Unhealthy nutrition is a problem that is evident when one looks at the variety of foods offered on campus. Every student and faculty member needs and possesses the right to know more about what they are eating. This report will reveal the main problem associated with the meals offered within the University.
Recommendation for Creating a Healthy Nutrition Environment
1. Request the health and biology college professors and students to help in creating a campus food nutrition facts database.
2. Publish nutrition fact sheets and allow the art and design professors and students to design it and after that place, the sheet on the food court.
3. Create a smartphone application with assistance from the IT department that contains all the information on nutritional facts.
Creating UMSL’S Healthy Nutrition Facts System
For a place that influences the health of more than 17,000 students and faculty members, the campus needs to induce health nutrition awareness. Such awareness will build a healthy food diet in UMSL. A health nutrition fact system may help students and faculty members to know precisely what they eat every day. Are their food choices within campus healthy or do they contain more calories? In the article, “How Bad Does Cafeteria Food Affect a Student’s Health?” Sharon Perkins points out that healthy nutrition on campus does not only depend on campus’ food services. It also depends on the choices that people make. Providing healthy food does not necessarily mean that students and faculties will lead a healthy lifestyle on campus (Perkins, 2015).
Obesity and cardiovascular diseases threaten many students and faculty members. Some are not satisfied with the food available within the campus and also their personal eating habits. The nutrition facts system is an effective tool that will give students and faculty members on campus, a piece of in-depth knowledge about the food they consume every day. Every type of food and drink that people can access within the campus will be listed in the system with special additional information. Based on the system’s database, students and faculty members will be able to know if their favorite meals are good or bad for their health. Also, the system comes with a variety of health plan suggestions from which consumers may choose to their preferences. People may use this system to check on the number of calories or other nutritional benefits they may gain before ordering. Better food choices that contain high nutritional benefits will be made conveniently and efficiently after the adoption of this system.
Nutritional Disparity and Healthy Nutrition Fact System
Fast food consumption is very common from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. Learners and faculty, on most occasions, consume meals available on the menu within the campus. Most college learners do not include a helping of fruits and vegetables in the dishes they take on a daily basis (Massa, 2012). Other times people make their way into the dining hall with an intention of taking a healthy meal, but just a mere look at the salad greens and mealy tomatoes makes them go for a burger. Also, the majority of food items available in the vending machine around the university are mostly items of little nutritional value, such as potatoes chips (Ali, Jarrar, Abo-El-Enen, Shamsi, & Ashqar, 2015). Consumptions of such food items are convenient since they are near lecture halls. All these factors have greatly contributed to the unhealthy eating habits adopted by the students and faculty members.
Mitigating the undesirable effects and the public health disparity within food environments requires urgent intervention, especially among the university population (Platkin, Yeh, Hirsch, Wiewel, Lin, Tung, & Castellanos, 2015). Addressing this nutritional issue requires the development of strategies that create environments in which students and faculty members can access information regarding healthy eating habits. The healthy nutritional fact system will provide such information. Keeping track of the food items and their nutritional benefits will be made easier with the adoption of this system. Calorie information provided at the point-of-purchase, as well as from smartphone applications offer a potential guide. The guide is for those who are unaware of the negative implications of consuming fast foods with low nutritional value (Roberto, Larsen, Agnew, Baik, & Brownell, K, 2010).
Adoption of the Healthy Nutrition Fact System
Developing the fact nutritional database will require efforts from numerous parties within the university. The system is meant to contain all the available food items on the menu within the campus, as well as the vending machines. Relevant nutritional information, such as calorie content, vitamin, and other nutritional benefits will be included under each food item. Gathering all the required information necessitates proper research on each food item. It will be done in consultation with the health and biology college professors, as well as the students in the same discipline. Information from Internet sources, books on nutrition and nutrition content data provided on the packing materials will prove useful at this point.
With collecting all the relevant information, several sources, such as nutritional fact sheets, posters, as well as the smartphone application that relay this information to the whole university fraternity will be developed. Food label education among university students has been known to reduce the consumption of food items with low nutritional benefits (Ali et al., 2015). Nutritional fact sheets and posters will be developed by the art and design students assisted by the professors in the same department. UMSL’s IT department will conduct the process of developing a smartphone application. All the data collected will be incorporated into the application in a manner that is easy to comprehend by its users. In addition, these sources will contain a variety of food choice recommendations that provide diet combination from which learners and the faculty can choose.
The visual sources of information will be posted around UMSL, especially around the food courts where they can be easily visible. These sources will assist students in choosing healthful food items. Also, a section of the campus magazine that deals with nutritional matters should be introduced to create more awareness amongst the campus fraternity. Awareness campaigns will also be carried out to introduce the nutrition fact database application for smartphones to the students and school fraternity.
On the institutional level, creating awareness of healthy eating habits calls for more rigid changes regarding policy (Story, Nanney, & Schwartz, 2009). Suggestions should be made, targeting the inclusion of healthy food alternatives in the menus within the campus. This should also apply to the vending machines. UMSL’s administration should work closely with the campus vending machine suppliers to reduce the availability of snack items with low nutritional benefits.
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Cost of the Healthy Nutrition Fact Database
Some costs are bound to arise when seeking to implement the health nutrition fact database. Printing costs of the nutrition fact sheets, as well as the posters, must be financed. Their number must be sufficient enough to cover the foodservice areas within the campus, so as to ensure the information is conveniently accessed by the students and faculty members. Printing one sheet costs an approximate of $0.5. Approximately 500 posters and nutritional fact sheets will be required bringing their printing total value to $250. UMSL’s finance department will fund this expense through the special programs department.
Developing the smartphone application for the nutrition facts database will not attract any expenses since it will be covered by the University’s IT department. However, developing the application requires an enormous amount of time given the length of information to be incorporated. Much research will also be involved before the development process can begin. The functionality of an application requires frequent testing and additional improvement after each test for perfection (Brealey, 2014). Such applications require much time to perfect before they can be released for use by students and faculty members.
Advantages of the Health Nutrition Fact Database
Healthy eating habits may be developed by people, given the right information on nutrition. The human body requires a definite assortment of nutrients that are not in many fast food joints today (Valle, 2012). Some people are aware of this fact but may still develop unhealthy nutritional habits. This is mainly because they lack the information regarding the nutritional contents of the food they consume every day. The health nutrition fact database will bridge this gap by offering a wide range of data to students and faculty members concerning their daily food intake.
Secondly, the health nutrition fact database will not only offer access to information but will also give numerous nutritional suggestions of food combinations that people may take into consideration. These suggestions provide a nutritional balance between different foodstuff available within the campus. One can choose a combination that suits their diet according to their preferences. Healthy eating habits can be adopted without necessarily looking into the nutritional content of each food item but by merely settling for a combination for the day.
The health nutrition fact database will aid in creating a healthy nutritional environment among the students and faculty members. The system will promote the introduction of more food items that are rich in nutritional benefits in the food court, as well as the vending machines all over the campus. Its adoption will breed a good environment for healthy living within the campus. Health risks that threaten the university fraternity will see a significant decrease once the system is adopted. Students will be more aware of the kind of food they purchase and its benefits. Health issues, such as obesity and cardiovascular diseases, are bound to reduce.
Following the exploration and research that was carried out, this proposal suggests the following recommendations that will aid in refining the nutritional habits. This is by introducing the health nutritional fact database to students and faculty members in the University of Missouri-Saint Louis:
1. Contact the food court suppliers and discuss the inclusion of more nutritious food items on the menu.
2. Contact the campus vending machine suppliers and discuss the changes to the snacks supplied.
3. Conduct awareness programs to make known to the students and faculty members the existence of a new health nutrition fact database.
In conclusion, adopting a healthy eating habit is a choice that anyone can make, given access to the relevant information. Good nutritional habits come with numerous benefits, as it has been explained in this proposal. It is in the best interest of the students and faculty members in UMSL to make use of the health nutrition fact database, once it is implemented. This is so as to create a healthy environment. The quality of life will also improve due to a reduction in the risk of contracting diseases associated with unhealthy eating habits (Lua & Elena, 2012). Stringent policies are also necessary to provide healthier meals to students on campus. A decent learning environment will then be created, once the health risks regarding nutrition have been done away with in UMSL.