Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) kicks off National Public Health Week (NPHW) beginning Monday, April 3, by encouraging Oklahoma City and OK County residents to choose better food, drink more water and get active. OCCHD celebrates the power of prevention, advocating for healthy and fair policies, sharing strategies on successful partnerships and championing the role of a strong public health system.
In conjunction with the American Public Health Association’s 1-Billion Step Challenge, OCCHD has already begun an internal step competition to inspire individuals to join in on NPHW. Lorri Essary, manager of community health operations, said, “A group of our nurses created a step challenge before National Public Health Week began. They also decided to eat 2 cups of vegetables and drink a smoothie every day to remind them to make conscious food choices.”
Build a Healthy Eating Style
Because healthy eating is important at any age, but the food on a young person’s plate can shape his or her health and growth for life. Data shows U.S. youth don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables or whole grains, yet they typically exceed the recommended daily intake of sodium and sugar.
Focus on making healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy to receive the nutrients you need. Eat the right number of calories based on your age, sex, height, weight and physical activity level. Building a healthier eating style can help you avoid being overweight and reduce your risk of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Make Small Changes to Create a Healthier Eating Style
· Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables
· Focus on whole fruits
· Vary your veggies
· Choose half your grains as whole grains
· Move to low-fat and fat-free dairy
· Vary your protein routine
Rethink Your Drink
Instead of selecting sugary drinks, drink water. It has no sugar or calories, helping you maintain a healthy weight. It keeps you hydrated too, preventing headaches and fatigue. You can drink water almost anywhere, as it’s always available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports most young adult Oklahomans ages 18-34 drink at least one sugary drink per day—more than any other state in the U.S. The amount of sugar this group consumes conservatively adds up to nearly 21 million pounds of added sugar per year.