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National Nutrition Month

If current trends continue, thirty years from now one-third of the U.S. population could be morbidly obese! Hard to believe? Three decades ago, it would have been hard to imagine the present state of affairs: two-thirds of the population overweight or obese.

A new study published in the journal, Public Health, found that between 2000 and 2005, the U.S.obese population (BMI > 30) increased by 24%. The morbidly obese population (BMI > 40) increased twice as fast, while the super morbidly obese population (BMI > 50) increased three times as fast.

Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, osteoarthritis and several kinds of cancer. Obesity also makes health problems harder to detect. Through diet and exercise much of this can be prevented or overcome.

Each March, the Academy encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthy eating through National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme emphasizes the advantages of developing a healthful eating plan that incorporates individual food choices and preferences. The Academy strives to communicate healthy eating messages that emphasize a balance of food and beverages within energy needs, rather than any one food or meal. To this end, it is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. Most favorite foods can fit within this pattern, if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.

Initiated in 1973 as a week-long event, “National Nutrition Week” became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. To commemorate the dedication of registered dietitians as the leading advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of each March is celebrated as “Registered Dietitian Day.” This year marks the sixth annual Registered Dietitian Day, which will be celebrated March 13. As part of this public education campaign, the Academy’s National Nutrition Month website includes a variety of helpful tips, games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition based on the “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” theme.

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