Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

Bring on the Veggies:


March is National Nutrition Month


March is National Nutrition Month: a month-long campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) designed to promote healthy eating practices. The campaign has existed since 1980 and launches annually in March to highlight the importance of good nutrition, as well as physical activity, in maintaining one's health. The message may seem redundant, especially after over 30 years of the tradition; but with over two-thirds of adults and one-third of children being overweight or obese, the practice of balanced nutrition and physical activity in America today is more important than ever.

This year's campaign theme is "Eat Right with Color," an idea based on the fact that a diet full of fruits and vegetables in varied colors also provides varied nutrients that offer a host of benefits. "Fruits and vegetables contain their own plant- producing pigments which can have unique effects on the body," says Patrick Grijalva, Nutrition Program Coordinator at the Kern County Public Health Services Department. "These pigments include lycopene in red fruits and vegetables and carotenoids in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables." According to Grijalva, lycopene may help reduce certain types of cancers and carotenoids convert to Vitamin A which increases eye health among other benefits.

National Nutrition Month this year conveniently follows the January 31st release of the "2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans." These evidence-based guidelines include recommendations on nutrition and physical activity, in hopes of reducing the high rates of chronic disease and obesity present in our nation's population. According to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, "The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim their waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease. Improving our eating habits is not only good for every individual and family, but also for our country." The document includes 23 concrete recommendations for Americans at large and also six recommendations for specific populations, such as pregnant women.

Public Health campaigns such as National Nutrition Month along with the new Dietary Guidelines aim to educate Americans about smart lifestyle choices, as well as to provide resources to make the healthy choices easier. For more information about nutrition, as well as local resources, visit www.kernpublichealth.com or call (661) 321-3000.

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