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December 2011 – Food & Fitness Keys to Good Health at Any Age
FACT:  According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that “about half of obese teenage girls and about a third of obese teen boys become severely obese by the time they are 30 — meaning they are 80 to 100 pounds over a healthy weight.”  

HOPE:  The health problems that stem from being overweight go way beyond diabetes and heart disease. Being overweight can also affect a person's joints, breathing, sleep, self-esteem, and energy levels.   Helping teenagers adopt a nutritious diet and achieve a healthy weight can impact their entire quality of life.  

FACT:  Toddlers consume a third of calories in snacks.  A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that toddlers aged 12 months and older consumed a third of their daily calories from snacking between meals, with the snacks becoming less nutritious as the children got older. Dietary patterns low in fruits and veggies and high in sweets and saturated fats began to develop between the ages of 12 months and 24 months, and this pattern tended to be established by 24 months. 

HOPE:  Parents can establish the foundation for a healthy diet early in life when eating habits and preferences are being formed.  Simple dietary changes—such as offering more nutritious snacks—can help prevent obesity and chronic disease in our children.

FACT:  Most U.S. adults don’t know if they are consuming too much sodium in their diet—and many don’t even care.  The International Food Information Council found that 70% of the 1,003 U.S. adults surveyed did not know what the dietary guidelines for sodium were.  59% were “not concerned” about their sodium intake, despite the fact that most Americans are consuming twice as much sodium as recommended. 
HOPE:  The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has recommended daily consumption of less than 2,300 mg of sodium for the general population and less than 1,500 mg for people over 51, for African-Americans of any age, and for people with hypertension, kidney disease or diabetes.  The good news is that taste for salt is acquired. By gradually cutting down on processed foods and adding salt to foods, your taste buds will adjust—and so will your blood pressure!

FACT:  Metabolic syndrome is correlated with increased risk of dying from all causes.  Physical activity helps to increase the lifespan of people with metabolic syndrome—but the majority of Americans aren’t achieving the recommended 30 minutes of moderately intense activity five days per week or 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes three days per week.
HOPE:  You can reap the benefits of physical activity even if you aren’t yet able to meet the recommended guidelines.  A recent study of 50,339 participants in Norway found that even a low level of physical activity was associated with a substantial mortality reduction among people with metabolic syndrome compared to those who were physically inactive.  Bottom line? It’s important to move—at any level! 
  • The, N. S., Suchindran, C., North, K. E., Popkin, B. M., & Gordon-Larsen, P. (2010).  Association of adolescent obesity with risk of severe obesity in adulthood. Journal of the American Medical Association, 304(18), 2042-2047.
  • Briefel, R. R., Kalb, L. M., Condon, E., Deming, D. M., Clusen, N. A., et. al.  (2010). Feeding infants & toddlers study, 2008. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110(12, Supplement), S16-S26.
  • Is Sodium on American Plates and Minds? . (September 27, 2011). IFIC | Food Safety, Healthy Eating and Nutrition Information. Retrieved from http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Is_Sodium_on_American_Plates_
  • Stensvold, D., Nauman, J., Nilsen, T., Wisløff, U., Slørdahl, S., & Vatten, L. (2011).  Even low level of physical activity is associated with reduced mortality among people with metabolic syndrome, a population based study (the HUNT 2 study, Norway).  BMC Medicine (9)109. Retrieved from www.biomedcentral.com

The material in this website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any illness, metabolic disorder, disease or health problem. Always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Use of the programs, advice, and information contained in this website is at the sole choice and risk of the reader.

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