OVERVIEW

Thank you so much for taking time to look at our blog! We are a group of edical students who are passionate about training and in underserved areas. This January and February, we are in Peru, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica internationally as well as locally in Flint and Lansing completing volunteer service, rotating in hospitals and clinics, and learning about international medicine and local underserved health care. We appreciate any time you take to read our reflections and any donations you might offer.

Please click the “Donate” link on the side for more details on how to give directly to these communities.


Monday, February 4

Gaseosa.... Updated!

      We had the patients return last Wednesday for follow up to the diabetic screen, which we did the previous week. They had their blood sugar taken again and were examined by the physician and other medical students. Once they were done talking to the doctor and other medical students, they sat down with me for about 10 minutes. The patients and I discussed diabetes in detail. I used an iPad with diabetes power point slides in Spanish for visual aid. We discussed topics ranging from glucose or sugar to lifestyle changes. One of the most astounding things was their indulgence of "gaseosa" also known as soda, pop, or coke in the States. For example, one couple drank about 3 liters of soda a day.

      There are numerous reasons why soda is such an extreme degree so addicting. Cola was invented in Atlanta and first served in 1886. Its beginning recipes contained small amounts of cocaine, which were removed by 1903. Over time, cola, such as those produced by the Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi Company, has reached an iconic status. In fact in 2011, the Coca-Cola Company was named the Best Global Brand and valued at 71 billion dollars out of all the companies in the world. In 2010, there were 1.7 billion servings of Coca-Cola sold every day. Soda can be found in art such as famous paintings by Norman Rockwell. Soda has claimed to have health benefits such as weight loss. It has become a great American icon and staple of American culture.

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      We have been bombarded by cola advertisements on billboards, product placement in movies and TV shows, vending machines in schools and businesses, and sales in supermarkets.  Cola's presence has seeped into our consciousness and unconsciousness, which has lead to many detrimental effects. Soda has been shown to have many effects on the body from changing dopaminergic pathways to being a possible risk factor for cancer. Soda has had a profound effect on the diet of adults and children and has been linked to the growing list of foods that contribute to the obesity epidemic. In third world countries where water has been deemed unsafe to drink, soda companies have edged in and taken the place of water. Soda is parasite free. Water on the other hand isn't. Even though there is clearly a benefit to drinking parasite-free liquids, in El Salvador, two 2.5 Liter bottles of coke cost 3 US dollars while a clay water filter, that filters water and leaves it parasite-free for 2 years, costs about 16 US dollars.  Financially, drinking water is the less expensive alternative. The beverage company seems to have a strong hold on patients' will and refuses to let go.

      In the coming few weeks, we will have a nutritional campaign. One focus of the campaign will include trying to educated people on the negative effects of excessive soda consumption. It's important to understand the biological, physiological and social factors that contribute to excessive cola consumption, such as the couple that drink 3 liters a day, in order to effectively address the diseases soda has negatively impacted.

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Update:

The couple that drank 3 L of soda per day have successfully weened off the soda. They now drink water for hydration. This is a perfect example of motivational interview working!

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