Not only is March the beginning of spring and warmer weather, it also happens to be National Nutrition Month. Now, there are some of us who are ardent about keeping up with their nutrition intake and eating as healthy as possible. Some of us, though, are not as keen. We constantly hear from doctors and healthcare professionals regarding the importance of nutrition, but why is nutrition so important? What are the benefits? Well, in honor of March being National Nutrition Month, here is a little insight into the world of nutrition.
First off, what exactly is nutrition? According to the website, What is Nutrition?, “Nutrition is the study of food at work in our bodies, our source for energy, and the medium for which our nutrients can function. Think of nutrition as the building blocks of life.” The website goes on to add, “Good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from healthy foods in the right combinations.” Nutrition and making health-conscious decisions is vital in maintaining our health and the well-being of bodies.
So many of us tend to skim over the nutrition charts on the back of food products and not really give much thought to what we consume. Not maintaining a healthy diet and eating all the necessary nutrients our bodies need, can lead to serious consequences. Unhealthy eating directly contributes to the high percentage of obesity in the United States. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, about 33.8% of U.S. adults are obese and approximately 17% or 12.5 million of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese. Even for those of us who maintain a healthy weight, poor dieting is directly correlated with major health risks resulting in illness and even death.
Some of the more serious health problems involve various types of vascular issues: heart disease, hypertension or high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. These statistics and health risks are truly staggering. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention offer these eye-opening facts:
• A poor diet can lead to energy imbalance (e.g., eating more calories than one expends through physical activity) and can increase one’s risk for overweight and obesity.
• A poor diet can increase the risk for lung, esophageal, stomach, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
• Individuals who eat fast food one or more times per week are at increased risk for weight gain, overweight, and obesity.
• Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can result in weight gain, overweight, and obesity
These health risks are truly serious, but the benefits of a healthy diet, balance nutrition consumption and a good amount of daily exercise certainly carry more weight. Being informed and knowing what is nutritional is pivotal in maintaining one’s health. This is why the campaign for National Nutrition Month is both helpful and insightful. As brought out in the National Nutrition Month website, “The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”
Yes, March is the beginning of spring, but it can also be the month that brings more than warmer weather; it can bring life-altering information on nutrition and how vital it is in our lives.