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Crawl-Walk-Run Action Steps

Most articles on Better the Future conclude with actionable steps readers can take. While some of us may be ready to take off running right away, others may need time to learn to crawl. We come from different backgrounds and have differing motivations for wanting to influence change to our food culture. We hope somewhere within these steps everyone can find a comfortable place to begin.

Crawl steps are designed to make you stop and consider an idea, to think about why our culture is structured the way it is or to notice how food culture influences your daily life.

Walk steps move beyond thinking and discovering for yourself to begin to influencing the people closest to you, like family, friends and coworkers. Most people will find these manageable with few resources or outside help.

Run steps move beyond the comfort zone of our close social circles to influence the community in which we live, work and play. These often require the support of others, and work on a broader level.

Find rates of chronic disease in your community

Look up rates of common chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes in your state and how they’ve changed over the past 25 years. State public health departments are a great place to start searching for this data.

Learn about mutual aid networks in your area.

Is there anyone you know that may benefit from one? Let them know about what resources they may be able to receive.

Count the available fruits and vegetables

Count the available fruit and vegetable offerings at your corner market, and on menus in the next week. Notice their where they are and how they are highlighted.

Go to a farmers market

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a farmers market, get out there and talk to the farmers about their work and buy your fresh produce directly from them. This way they get a larger percentage of the profits, and you get to know the people responsible for growing the food you eat.

Eat at school

How much do you know about the meals your child is served at school? Ask your child and their friends if they like their school meals and what they enjoy or would change about them. Check with the school to see if you can eat lunch with your child one day to see what it’s like for yourself.

 

Put a face on it

Ask friends, family and neighbors whether they have ever received food stamp benefits. It’s estimated that half the U.S. population will receive benefits at one point during their lifetime. Putting a face to the story will help eliminate stigma and misconceptions about SNAP benefits.

Take a food tour of campus

Is there a college or university near you? Take a walk one day and see what it’s like. What kinds of restaurants are there? What’s in the vending machines? What kinds of food are available in the student union? Or have a conversation with a child, friend or neighbor attending college about their food choices while on campus. How do you think it compares to college campus from 20 years ago? 40 years ago?

Read the Dietary Guidelines

Read the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. Look for news articles and commentary related to the guidelines and the advisory committee report on which they are based. Decide for yourself what you think about the guidelines and the process to develop them.

Track the food ads

Ever wonder how our food culture got to the point where the easy choice never seems to be the nutritious choice? One day keeps tabs of all the food ads you hear and see. Compare how many are for whole foods and how many are for highly-processed food products.

Incorporate DOHaD into your work

Do you already work or volunteer with with a group that could incorporate concepts of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) into its programs or policies? Do you work in health care, for a community non-profit, in  education, or government? These are a few of the more obvious areas where DOHaD principles could be woven into your work. However, social stress and nutrition touch almost every aspect of life. Think of ways you could incorporate this information into your work and volunteer opportunities.

Explore more

Explore the blog and follow Better the Future on Twitter and Facebook to begin listening to the conversation.

Pay attention to food ads directed at teens and tweens

You might be in awe of the amount and kinds of food this group consumes. But why do they eat what they do? Watch for advertisements that are targeted toward this group. Turn on a TV program or TV station directed toward this group and look at what kinds of products are being advertised and how. Or have a conversation with an adolescent about what they eat.