This blog began as a journal of a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Award visit to the USA to study how Lifestyle Redesign could be used in Occupational Therapy to improve the hospital/home interface for older people. It has continued to record developments and inspiration gained from that experience since returning from Los Angeles early in 2012.

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Be Inspired-
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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Weight Management- the challenges of food labels...and a cool app

The main campus was hectic on Thursday morning- it was careers fair day so there were stalls and students everywhere. A beautiful day, spring has arrived early in Southern California.

Despite last week's session seeming so challenging, nearly everyone was back this week. There had been variable levels of success in achieving the goals set last week, but everyone was fairly upbeat and ready to continue.

This weeks topic was how to make choices when shopping for food using the nutritional labels on packaging. As some of the group pointed out, this doesn't help when you are out for a meal, but it is a good step towards understanding what is likely to be a good choice and what is not.

After the weigh-in and checking in how everyone's week had gone, Chantelle began by going through the standard food label used in the US using material adapted form the US Food & Drug Administration & Applied Nutrition website (the government website basically). For some of the group it seemed to be the first time they had looked at a food label in detail, others were more familiar with it.

The group then studied and compared a selection of packages that Chantelle had brought in. Some of the pitfalls, like the need to keep an eye on portion size in multiple portion packs, became evident. Sometimes the item that appeared to be a 'healthier' option was not much different to one that looked 'unhealthy'. In this way, the group made their own discoveries and became more adept at spotting any issues and making comparisons. These are skills that they will now be able to incorporate into their changing daily occupations. Interestingly no-one set a goal for this week that was specifically to do with reading food labels, but there were a few about shopping more carefully so it seemed that the information would be used to support more tangible goals.
School of Dentistry at University Park Campus, USC, where the Weight Management group meets

Cool App
Chantelle had discovered this app and shared with the group. It's free and is called 'fooducate', the app is for smart phones, you scan the bar code on an item in the supermarket and it brings up information, grades it from A to D for you, and even suggests healthier alternatives! If you Google 'fooducate' or follow this link you will find all their resources, I see there is a blog too, I've added it to the ones I'm following to check it out.
The web site says:
"Fooducate is NOT funded or influenced by food manufacturers, supplement companies, diets, or any sort of magic pill."

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