March 1 marks the beginning of National Nutrition Month, the yearly observance created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy calls the month a celebration and gives us this catchy urge to action: “Go further with food.”
Among the perspectives the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides is that we need a diet that fits our lifestyle. Seems a simple-enough idea, but, in fact, one reason certain regions have higher rates of obesity than others may be that farming or physical labor once required greater outlays of energy, and the traditions and expectations of meals and menus in these regions stayed on long after those lifestyles changed.
So, making food choices based on awareness more than tradition is a key step in the right direction for many of us.
A Perspective from History
A friend of ours is a technical advisor in Hollywood for movies about the Second World War. In supplying uniforms and equipment for Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Flags of Our Fathers, The Pacific, and many others, he came face to face with one significant difference between “The Greatest Generation” and us. The average WWII recruit was 5’8” tall and weighed 144 pounds.
Our friend routinely issued actors in these movies a pair of trousers two inches larger than their stated size, because WWII uniforms were designed for people who had just grown up during The Great Depression.
It was a clear reminder: Among all the blessings we tend to forget, most of us take getting enough to eat for granted. Unfortunately, together with this improvement came an unintended consequence – obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol have become epidemic contributing factors to some of the most widespread causes of preventable death.
So Many Ways to Do Better
There is certainly no shortage of practical suggestions for improving our choices, thanks to National Nutrition Month. No fewer than 17 tip sheets have been composed – in English and Spanish – to point the way.
Families are encouraged to make family mealtimes a priority and to cultivate non-food rewards, for example, as part of building a healthier environment at home.
Educators can count on the Academy and the USDA, too, for resources. The opportunity to influence nutrition for the better in schools is vast because children take in more than half the calories of their day while they are in school.
An Ally Makes the Difference
Some tips apply to most everybody, but the best recommendations come from awareness of what makes you and your body unique. A relationship with a family physician can give you an ally who could make all the difference in the results you see. Why not schedule an appointment with us at Global Family Medicine to talk about a healthier approach to eating, for yourself and your whole family? Call us at 843-815-6468.