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Healthy living“ Campaign report 1. Background research to the issue To find the way linked to my group topic and target made us to meet many times and discuss about social issues among students and young people. It made my group to think a lot what topic for campaign would be interesting to us – while working for this, and similarly what would be interesting for other people especially for students in Middlesex University. First of all, everyone in my group pay attention on unhealthy food and ingredients which make daily food able to be fresh for long term and even dangerous.
My group decided to start doing campaign “tricky food” and we all fell into research on dangerous ingredients in popular supermarkets’ food. As we published in our Wiki page “Unhealthy substitutes used in food production” had to be our campaign stage. (Wiki, ResearchS08G1). From long list of various chemicals and acids which are used in food our group made a decision to focus on Aspartame the most.
Aspartame is artificial sweetener which is 200 times sweeter than sugar and commonly used in food industry.
In the internet is not difficult to find many articles and discussions about it, some people claim that it is very dangerous to human’s health because of its force to cause cancer, nerve disorders, birth defects and other healthy imbalances. From the other side of view, probably from the business side, some people are ready to prove that aspartame is not so bad, the right amount of it in food is not dangerous and it is cheaper to use in food industry than sugar.
However, this sweetener is widely used and found in drinks such as diet coke, energy drinks and even some juice. In the United States aspartame is regulated by FDA – Food and Drug Administration which has set the ADI (acceptable daily intake) for aspartame 50mg/kg and similarly in the European Union – by European Food Safety Authority ADI is 40mg/kg. (American Cancer Society, Learn About Cancer 2011). Well, when the national administration has set the secure quantity of this sweetener it became allowable to use it in food widely.
Due to that my group decided that there are no argues with food industry and during our campaign it is hard to change sweeteners usage in nourishment and we made another decision: to change campaign topic and target substantially. Every one of us is surrounded by bright adverts and slogans to be eco-friendly, to eat healthy food, to avoid junk food, to choose food without any preservatives and so on. My group and I also decided to join in those who are providing healthy living style.
We started to do another research linked to it, to search what vitamins human need to recover healthy organism after winter and which fruit and vegetables have beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Also very important issue that UK is on the leading position in regards to obese citizens in Europe (Wiki, ResearchS08G1). Regarding to New York Times (2010, The World is Fat) in almost half of developed countries, one out of every two people is overweight or obese. In the figure is clearly visible that England was and will be second nation after United States which has overweight, till 2020 it can reach 70 per cent limit!
These facts made us to take care for obese issue in United Kingdom. As a united group of different countries: two Lithuanians, Polish and two English we see our target to start informing students about this growing problem by providing healthy eating habits and healthy life style including exercises and view of it. 2. Process of campaign planning Firstly, we had chosen to run the campaign about “tricky food” and especially aspartame but as I mentioned in the first part of report, during the research we found facts that aspartame is legal sweetener and the right amount of it is not dangerous to human’s health.
With our campaign we would be having too less force and evidence in order to avoid this sweetener use in food industry. Regarding to this, we left the idea about tricky food and during more than two meetings we were discussing about many topics which could be interesting and worthy to pay attention. It was not easy part of planning our campaign because we all understood that to find the topic with strong target and serious attitude it is difficult.
We mentioned points such as how we could include more people to our team, how we could represent information for them and for our university, should we stay only in university or shall we go further: inform people about issue in our living areas, in the social websites, etc. how we could do our event and what to do so as to attract an attention. We were sure that we will have leaflets with useful information, that we will set up facebook page for our campaign and we will do our event in the university. In our meeting we had not have one person as a chairperson, we all were equivalent and we all were suggesting our ideas. My idea was to look deeper how we are living, what are ours daily diet, daily routine – are we healthy enough or should we change something in our lives. While suggesting the topic Healthy living I also had an idea to raise the charity fund. Even more, to visit children schools or other meeting places and inform them about our campaign and targets. Unfortunately, I had not got any assent from my team members for this action. However, I sent some emails to charities such as British Red Cross and Save the Children.
I informed them about our campaign and targets, mentioned that we would like to do our campaign as a charity. While giving healthy food (fruit or veg) in university my team could collect some donation for one of the charities and later we could collaborate by doing volunteering jobs or events providing healthy living. I have got an answer from British Red Cross, they were interesting in our action and targets. Unfortunately, I had got that answer too late because we were already doing our campaign on ourselves without any outside organizations. 3. Work as a group
From my view at this point I am quite happy while working with my group. As in every team work we faced with some advantages and disadvantages but the final result was nice. The best times and really strong team work were when all group members were attending the meetings. Sure, it had happen only few times, however, those meetings were pretty good. We had never have any argues or complaints, our discussions were always polite and with respect to each other. We always listened to each other’s ideas and discussed them together with giving some agreements or reasoned rejections.
Usually our meetings were with three attended group members. Nevertheless, we were able to consider what would be the next step, what research we had to do until next meeting and all jobs or duties were apportion between every team member equally. Even more, if we were having enough spare time after meeting, some of us were going to library to do research together or to write down the minutes into the wiki page. For more questions or advice we were chatting online, by sending emails we arranged for the next meeting.
On the other hand, this low attendance made some difficulties to organize all team work, it always takes time to text messages to inform other members about further actions. Because everyone has jobs it was difficult to find right times in order to meet all together, some group members were paying more attention for their jobs than to studies and especially for this campaign. Due to these issues our campaign was small and weak, its background were just two people who pay more attention to every organizing step. 4. Your action I value my action in the group as big part of whole campaign.
The background and topic of Healthy living was my idea suggested in the group meeting. I came with the wide idea of it and I had some plans how to reach the main aim. As I mentioned above, I offered to do a campaign as a charity: while providing fruit or vegetables for students we can collect donation for a charity, later collaborate with that organization and hope for getting some support. Personally I always like to communicate with organizations such as charities or other help centres, I have previous experience by searching the support for some events that is why I feel free and confident while asking others to promote my plans.
This time I had asked some charities but unfortunately I have not got any help from them. First of all, I think I had to call them straight away and reject sending emails and waiting for answers, second , I think I had to let them know more about my action, about our campaign, purpose and all details so as to make them interesting enough to support us. Finally, if I would be able to have enough force to influence others I would have asked other my group members to help me and to pay more attention on our campaign because I felt too weak to take this huge part alone.
Anyway, at the end of March and beginning of April I was communicating with Community Fundraiser from British Red Cross. She replay to my email a bit too late than I was expected but it is always nice to let other communities know about my actions and attitude. I can be brave to say that I was that person in my group who was the most enthusiastic about campaign planning and actions. It was not difficult to take care and organize the event during which we were giving free apples, apple shaped stickers and leaflets with interesting information about fruit.
In order to get apples each of us asked local shops to support us by giving some apples. I am living Hendon, so here I found many local shops where I am shopping almost every day and I visited them with my special request. First of all, while talking to the manager of the shop I let him know who I am and what I am doing, later I asked him to support our campaign and in the same way I made him sure that he is making big help not only for my group but also for some students who maybe will start thinking more about healthy life style.
Some shops rejected my request but I did not give up and went ahead. Finally, I found one shop near to the Hendon Central Station which was very helpful and polite. People who are working there wished me luck and even know they look at me as at friendly shopper. 5. Supporting other campaigns Our group was working alone without any collaborate with other campaigns from our module. As we all got the topic food almost all campaigns were linked to healthy products.
Some of them had chosen specifically one product (energy drink, junk food – hamburgers, etc. ) and they run campaigns in order to change people attitude and inform them how dangerous it is. Differently, we had not chosen any products – we looked into whole lifestyle which includes food, exercises and attitude. I really appreciate other people job, how they did their campaigns, how they had represented their ideas and what targets they had. Only one thing what I might to change could be the way how they did their events.
Most of all campaigns were too silent, working only on social websites such as Facebook or Twitter, I would rather do it loudly in the centre of our university. References: Wiki, S08G1 “Healthy Living”, research 2012 [online], http://mcs1000campaigns. middlesex. wikispaces. net/ResearchS08G1 American Cancer Society, Learn about cancer 2011. [online], http://www. cancer. org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/AtHome/aspartame The New York Times, The World is Fat 2012, [online], http://economix. blogs. nytimes. com/2010/09/23/the-world-is-fat/
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