Physical Activity and Nutrition
Evidence suggests that eating a healthier diet and increasing physical activity could reduce the rates of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. People who are physically active and eat healthy and balanced diets tend to live longer and have lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) tracks physical activity, exercise, nutrition, and obesity with several indicators, which are detailed below.
Physical activity is key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Balancing the calories you take in through food and drinks with the calories you burn during activity is important, even if you are currently at a healthy weight.
Tips to add more activity to your day:
• Park farther from the office, store, or school to add steps to your trip.
• Find a safe route and bike to work, school, or errands.
• When available, take the stairs instead of the elevator. If climbing multiple floors is difficult, go up a few flights and then take the elevator the rest of the way.
• Organize a "walking school bus" in your neighborhood. Or volunteer to walk your kids and/or neighborhood kids to school.
• Walk to your errands if they are within a mile of each other.
• Take your pet, kids, family, or friends on a walk after dinner. Light physical activity helps digestion and will help you fall asleep faster.
Nutrition and Obesity
A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help combat obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other leading health problems.
Tips for Healthy Eating
Each meal should include a variety of foods. A healthy diet includes foods from each food group:
Grains (bread, cereal, rice, pasta). Start smart with breakfast—look for whole grain cereals and breads. Search the ingredients list to make sure the first word is "whole" like "whole wheat." Just because bread is brown doesn't mean it is whole grain!
Fruits are nature's treats—sweet and delicious. Go easy on the juice though, and make sure it's 100%!
Vegetables: Color your plate with all kinds of great-tasting veggies. Go dark green with broccoli and spinach, or go orange with carrots and sweet potatoes.
Protein (poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts). Eat lean or low-fat meat, chicken, turkey and fish. Ask for it baked, broiled or grilled, but not fried! Nuts, seeds, peas, and beans are all great sources of protein too!
Dairy (low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese). Move to the milk group to get your calcium, protein and other essential nutrients, all of which are important to build strong bones and healthy bodies.
Limit added fats and sugars – they contribute unneeded calories to your diet.