Diet & Nutrition

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Children & Teenagers

In the United States, the percentage of overweight and obese children and teens is increasing at an alarming weight. Obese children and teens are at a greater risk for developing serious health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, as well as high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease in adulthood. They may also experience low self-esteem due to teasing and bullying from their peers.

We encourage parents to help their children maintain a healthy weight. Lead by example. Prepare healthy meals for the entire family, and make an effort to prepare your family’s favorite meals in a healthier way.

Your child’s diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and beans. Limit your family’s consumption of saturated fat and sugar. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water, and limit the amount of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages they consume.

Fostering good eating habits early in your child’s life will promote a lifetime of healthy choices.

Adults

Nutrition plays a vital role in helping adults maintain good overall health and reduces the risk for diseases. Poor nutrition can lead to a number of conditions and/or diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and even some types of cancer.

A healthy balanced diet consists of the six basic food groups:

  • 3-6 ounces of grains (whole grain bread, cereal, rice, pasta, etc.)
  • 2 cups of fruits (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • 2 ½ cups of vegetables (dark green and orange vegetables are highly recommended)
  • Meat and beans (lean meats, fish, beans, peas, nuts, etc.)
  • 3 cups of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
  • Fats (most should come from meats, fish, beans and vegetable oils; limit solid fats like butter, shortening, etc.)

Drinking plenty of water is also important in maintaining a proper diet. Try to limit the intake of high-sugar beverages and fruit juices, as well as alcoholic beverages as they can quickly dehydrate your body.