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National Nutrition Month: Healthy Eating to Decrease Obesity

National Nutrition Month: Healthy Eating to Decrease Obesity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity as a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. According to the CDC, obesity is a serious problem in the United States, affecting approximately 40 percent of adults and 18 percent of children. Obesity-related health conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. These conditions are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.

The key to reducing obesity risks and maintaining a healthy weight is to adopt a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and physical activity. Whether you are concerned about your current weight or are simply committed to staying fit, there are a few steps you can take to help adopt healthier eating habits.

  • Stay Hydrated: Studies show that people who drink water instead of other beverages consume 200 fewer calories per day on average. Studies from the National Institute of Health on drinking water before meals demonstrates you can reduce appetite and calorie intake in middle-aged or older adults.
  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: According to the CDC, only one in ten adults are eating the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps prevent obesity. Visit the MyPlate.gov site on fruits and MyPlate.gov on vegetables for more information.
  • Ditch the Sugar: Sugar is added to many prepared foods and drinks, such as the high-fructose corn syrup added to breakfast cereals and sodas. Visit the CDC page on sugar for more information. Consider substituting a healthier alternative like agave, honey, or coconut sugar.
  • Make Room for Healthy Fat: Healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts can help you reach your weight loss goals. Visit the MyPlate.gov page on healthy fats for tips to help you stay full longer and decrease cravings.
  • Minimize Distractions: Eating at the dinner table, away from potential distractions, is not only a way to keep your weight down, but also a way to connect with loved ones.

To learn more about making healthy changes to your diet and increasing your physical activity, visit the Nutrition.gov Healthy Living and Weight Management page.

Always consult with your physician before starting any diet or exercise plan. If you have questions, please contact worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

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