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Getting children to eat fruits and vegetables is a challenge. Not only is it an obstacle in the United States, but it is challenging globally as well. A sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables are in fact essential for a child’s health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children eat 1-2 cups of fruit and 1-3 cups of vegetables daily depending on their age, gender, and level of activity. In New Zealand, “the proportion of children meeting the vegetable recommendation has declined, while fruit intake remains unchanged” (‘Children Eating More Fruit, but Fruit and Vegetable Intake Still Too Low’, 2016). These happenings are very alarming, especially with children who are from low-income families. Not having the proper nutrition can result to poor lifestyle choices into adulthood; actions must be taken right now.

Identification of Theory

Allen et al. used the community and group model to conduct this study. Community organizing by community groups assist to discover obstacles and implement strategies to reach goals that have been set. The constructs entail of participation, control, and critical awareness. Empowerment symbolizes social change and the results of that social change.

Several children in New Zealand do not get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables daily. This study helped to identify systemic barriers to children reaching the goal of eating the daily dose of fruits and vegetables. A community group model was used. The research team collaborated with Healthy Families Waitakere. They recruited 17 participants that consisted of parents, students, teachers, community leaders, local retailers, and health promoters from New Zealand. The participants were specifically from West Auckland, a city of a low-income and is ethnically diverse.

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Description of Theory

The 17 participants were divided into three groups. In each group, called a workshop created a systems map to identify the gaps within the system. The participants concluded that fast food restaurants are to blame. Fast food restaurants are throughout the community, but also more convenient when families are running on a tight schedule. Other than fast food, parents do not have the time to cook for their children due to their work schedule. It has been said that it is time consuming to be making fruits and vegetables and preparing meals for their children. Lastly, low-income families had to be on a tight budget to buy produce and some did not have enough money to pay for it.

Overview of the Community/Group Model

By using the community group model, this study showed a new perspective of why children are low on their fruit and vegetable intake. The participants were fully aware of this issue and wanted to make actions on how to overcome this challenge. This model was a successful approach to engage the community for important health issues. It was interesting to see that the participants fully understood that when children have the appropriate nutrition, they are more physically, socially, and emotionally healthy. However, due West Auckland, New Zealand, having a low-income population, there was an issue that needed to be addressed.

Conclusion

Ultimately, eating a proper diet including fruits and vegetables will help children perform better in school and will combat obesity. Communities globally should come together and collect ideas for better eating habits in children. New Zealand and the United States share the same issue with fast food being the center of attention within towns and cities. Americans rush from one thing to the next not being able to make healthy foods for themselves or their child. If we take into consideration of the information that this study has revealed, the world would not have fruit and vegetable eating issues. An idea expressed was, “Put a sticker in the window of shops that are healthy. Let’s build on the community spirit here” (Allen et al., 2019). Working together and coming together as a team can do a lot for the community!

References

  1. Allan, K., Bartos, A. E., Renker-Darby, A., Eickstaedt, M., Gerritsen, S., Harre, S., … E. Waterlander, W. (2019). Improving Low Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Children: Findings from a System Dynamics, Community Group Model Building Study. PLOS ONE, 14(8), e0221107. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221107
  2. ‘Children Eating More Fruit, but Fruit and Vegetable Intake Still Too Low’ (2016, January 1). Retrieved December 9, 2019, from CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0805-fruits-vegetables.html

#heathcare #medical #medicalcare #pharmaceuticals #healthcareprofessional #nurses #healthprofessionals

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