March is National Nutrition Month. This year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has chosen the theme, Bite into A Healthy Lifestyle. The nutrition staff at Onslow County Health Department is asking people to honor this month by making a slight change towards a healthier diet.
Bite into A Healthy Lifestyle by changing your snacks to a piece of fruit, such as an apple or fruit canned in 100 percent juice, and a dairy option, like yogurt or string cheese.
Next, try stocking up on easy frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables and no-preparation-needed raw vegetables, like baby carrots, so that you can easily make half your plate a vegetable every night. “These options can be easily purchased and ready to go in the car for a snack or alongside takeout at home to make any meal more balanced,” explained Carissa Showers, Nutrition Director for the Onslow County Health Department.
Many Americans do not consume enough fruits, vegetables, dairy or whole grains. Because of this, people may not be getting enough calcium, vitamin D, fiber and potassium to maintain their health.
An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. According to the February 2013 North Carolina County Trend Reports, deaths from diabetes are significantly higher in Onslow County than in North Carolina. Diabetes is currently the fourth leading cause of death in the county. Approximately 1 in 10 Onslow County adults has been told he or she has diabetes, according to the 2012 BRFSS survey.
According to Showers, “The good news is that Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented through living a healthy lifestyle. It is not only important to help diagnosed individuals manage disease, but also help those at risk reduce their chance of becoming a Type 2 diabetic.”
“Consider enlisting the support of a professional to guide you through long-term, sustainable change. Onslow County Health Department currently offers the widely acclaimed Diabetes Prevention Program, a long-term solution to achieving healthy weight and reducing risk for developing chronic disease. The health department also has diabetes education classes and individualized nutrition counseling with Registered Dietitians,” added Showers.
For more information about these programs, please call the Health Department at 910-347-2154. For tips and suggestions about healthy eating, follow us on Twitter @OCHealthDept.