Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sign. Fold. Stuff. Repeat.

The fun has begun!

We're getting ready to send out questionnaires for the three-year follow-up of our Women's Health and Well-being study.  For the last two days, we have handwritten over 1,000 women's names in the greeting line of our letter that summarizes last year's findings and announces the questionnaire coming next week.

In the midst of signing, folding, and predicting what it will be like when we start our work preparing the questionnaire mailing, I got my first taste of survey research methodology humor.  Someone asked why we have to go through the hassle of adding personal touches here and there;  after all, it is taking hooouurrrrss to get this all done.

Then someone, with her best Jerry Seinfold imitation, simply said, "Dillman!"

At the end of today, we finally started stuffing the envelopes.

Heidi and I took a break from the action to speak to parents at a nearby preschool.  The school is implementing the Healthy Heart Award program and wanted nutritionists to speak about healthy lunchbox choices.

When we walked in, we saw a room full of under 5s eating cut up pineapple, apples, grapes, slices of cheese, crackers, celery, hummus, pita bread and other deliciousness for lunch.  On the wall behind the little ones was a collage of food wrappers from items found in the kids' lunch boxes earlier this year.  Cookies, chips, gummies and other sweet things were all represented on the wall.  I thought it was a great reminder to all of us that the children are just as happy eating the fresher, nutrient dense foods.  The teachers hope that the education parents are getting through the program will reduce the amount of high fat/sugar/salt foods in kids' lunch boxes.

Heidi talked about reading food labels.  One father pointed out that fresh foods cost more.  He made a valid point.  I replied that what we're doing for children by buying them fresh fruits/vegetables, leaner meats, whole grains, etc is actually investing in their health to improve it down the road.  It is hard to imagine the eating habits of a 3-year-old affecting them at 13, but I hope I helped him think about things a little differently.  I also mentioned taking small steps - when they look at food labels at the grocery store this week, buy foods with less sugar.  Then, the next trip to the grocery store they can pick a different nutrient to focus on.  If we had more time, I would have busted out some of my knowledge from a "Balanced Diet on a Budget" talk I did in the senior centers at home.

Tomorrow will involve more envelope stuffing, but I don't mind!  The others on my research team are tolerating the music I put on our special Envelope Stuffing Party playlist which includes such great tunes as "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" by Jet, "Jump Around" by House of Pain, "and "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee-Lite.  They all agree that the dance party vibe makes getting the job done a lot more fun!

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