National Nutrition Month -- ‘Put Your Best Fork Forward’

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The National Nutrition Month® theme for 2017 is "Put Your Best Fork Forward," which acts as a reminder that each bite counts.

Initiated in March 1973 as a week-long event, National Nutrition Week became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest starting with small changes in order to make healthier lasting changes you can enjoy. Making just small shifts in our food choices, can add up over time. Choosing a variety of healthful foods across and within all food groups helps reduce the risk of preventable, lifestyle-related chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and obesity.

Making small changes in the kitchen is just one part of becoming healthier over time. Nutrient-dense options and foods packed with important nutrients are naturally lean or low in solid fats and have little or no added solid fats, sugars or sodium.

During National Nutrition Month and beyond, make an effort to cut back on food and beverages high in added sugar, sodium and saturated fats. Take the time to find creative, healthful and nutritious ways to add flavor to food.

Maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases. The connection between cancer and obesity varies widely for different cancer types, but is as high as 40 percent for some cancers, particularly endometrial cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Reduce your intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars. Foods with added sugars and fats can cause weight gain and leave little room for more healthful, cancer-preventive foods. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables including beans, which are linked with a lower risk of certain cancers. Fill half your plate each meal with a variety of naturally nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables full of color.

Limit alcohol. Evidence suggests all types of alcoholic drinks may increase risk of a number of cancers, including mouth, throat, voice box, esophageal, liver, breast, colon and rectal. It's unclear exactly how alcohol affects cancer risk. It is considered more harmful when combined with smoking. If you drink at all, limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one drink daily for women and two for men.

Improving overall well-being requires a lifelong commitment to healthful lifestyle behaviors, including daily physical activity. Parents can provide opportunities and encourage their children to spend time each day playing fun, physical activities. When children are young, parents and other caregivers are responsible for providing an environment that helps them maintain a healthy weight.

Help your child by being a positive role model for healthy eating and activity habits. Provide a calm, reassuring atmosphere at regular meals and snack times. Set healthy limits on screen entertainment like television and video games. Involve the whole family in fun physical activities. Help children develop a positive body image and avoid restrictive diets and excessive exercise regimens.

When it comes to nutrition and fitness, the role of parents is the same no matter the weight of their children. Not all slim kids have healthy eating habits or active lifestyles, and not all overweight children develop risk factors for diabetes or heart disease. A healthy weight for kids is about much more than numbers. It is about healthy behaviors, such as enjoying a variety of nutrient-rich foods and a variety of activities for strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity

Visit your Health Promotion office call 434-1688 to see what is available to start your healthy lifestyle. Healthy Snacks and information will be provided to start making healthy nutrition habits to “Put your best fork forward.”