Fight for a Healthier Nation
As some of you may know, I am teaching a course in applied nutrition at Bridgewater State University this semester. National statistics reveal our country’s health and wellness is quite poor. This comes as no surprise. If we want to collectively better our health statistically, we must start to care for ourselves individually through behavioral changes of prudent healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. Together, we can eradicate the health care and insurance crises. With summer being less than 12 weeks away, there’s no better time to start thinking about starting a healthier lifestyle.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states “unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are the leading causes of death in the U.S.” It declares that “although genetic influences may play an important role predisposing an individual to a chronic disease, so, too, does lifestyle.” The CDC notes that despite the fact that chronic diseases are among the most costly and common health problems they are the most preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
If we refocus and double-down on our efforts of consistent exercise and make judicious healthy food choices, we will be healthier and happier (and just might get those beach bodies we all crave!). And maybe, just maybe, become a healthier nation as a whole.
I have listed below 12 steps to a Prudent Healthy Lifestyle:
- Balance the food you eat with physical activity to maintain or improve your body weight. Consume only moderate food portions. Be physically active every day.
- Eat a nutritionally adequate diet consisting of a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods. Consume whole foods in their natural form, less processed food.
- Follow a diet rich in plant foods. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and legumes, which are rich in healthy carbohydrates, phytochemicals and fiber.
- Follow a diet moderate in total fat but low in saturated, trans fat and cholesterol.
- Choose beverages and foods that are moderate or reduce your intake of sugars, especially added sugars.
- Prepare and eat foods with less salt and sodium.
- Maintain protein intake at a moderate yet adequate level, obtaining much of your daily protein from plant sources, complemented with smaller amounts of fish, skinless poultry, and lean meat.
- Choose a diet adequate in calcium and iron.
- Practice food safety, proper storage, preservation, and preparation.
- Consider the possible benefits of and risks of food additives.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
- Enjoy your food, eat what you like, but balance it with your overall healthful diet.
As a whole, if we all start making better choices, take control of our own health and wellness, not only will we be healthier as individuals but also as a nation, and look great during the summer! If we work to making ourselves great, the whole becomes greater, too!
– Guy C., M.S., Fitness Director at DHAC