“Be the change you want to see in the world.” This quote from Mahatma Gandhi has always been one of my favorite quotes, and something I strive toward making the focus of my life. This idea of making oneself responsible for change has applications in almost all aspects of life including change on societal, familial, and individual levels. As our country continues to develop issues concerning obesity, malnutrition, and increased concern over additives and alterations in our food supply, it is time for people to begin creating change on an individual level that will spread nationwide.
There are many steps involved in successfully applying an intervention to a population:
While all of these factors are vital in creating change, if an individual lacks the desire and motivation to change, all efforts to initiate change will be unfounded. The counseling technique motivational interviewing can be successful in helping an individual take possession of their own ability to create change in themselves. Motivational interviewing is client-driven and focuses on empowering the individual to process ideas, struggles, and thoughts that they already have in the presence of another individual. Motivational interviewing can help an individual develop the confidence and desire needed for them to want to create change in developing a healthier lifestyle for themselves.
I would like to propose a program that encompasses the necessary steps of an intervention with a focus on motivational interviewing. According to SNAP to Health, in August 2011 their were 45.8 million people participating in SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). Participants can use the money received (an average of $289.61 per household participating per month) to purchase all food products, not including: beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco; any nonfood items; vitamins and medicines; foods that will be eaten in the store; or hot foods. Besides the previous listed items, there are no regulations concerning the foods that can be purchased.
There are currently many, many ideas floating around about different regulations on the program that would force individuals participating in the program to develop healthier lifestyles. However, instead of forcing people to adapt, I think motivational interviewing could be used to encourage the SNAP participants to create healthy lifestyle adaptations for themselves. Through motivational interviewing, SNAP participants could focus on understanding their own lifestyle and how it could be adapted to be healthier, and also be empowered to make healthier food choices based on the knowledge they have discovered through the help of motivational interviewing. The program could then offer an incentive such as 5% increase in their monthly SNAP checks that could be used specifically to purchase the foods necessary to create a healthier lifestyle such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
And now a little David Bowie to get you motivated to start making some Ch-Ch-Changes: