Health, Nutrition, and Physical Activity
Our overall health is affected by the food we eat and our physical activity. With proper diet and exercise, we reduce our risks for chronic diseases such as heart disease, many cancers, type 2 diabetes, anemia, and bone loss. A nutritious diet can also help reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, manage arthritis, and manage diabetes. Physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, improves cardiovascular health, protects against many health conditions, increases energy, controls weight, and improves mental health and mood. The trick to staying healthy is all about finding a balance of food and physical activity that works for you.
Kansas citizens want reliable research-based information about their food supply. Busy families want to prepare quick, easy, nutritious meals. Helping Kansans eat more healthfully and increase physical activity can improve their quality of life now and in the future, and reduce health care costs. Learning to eat healthfully can also stretch family food budgets.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Did you know that the government publishes guidelines for both physical activity and diet? Because being physically active is one of the most important actions that people of all ages can take to improve their health, the Physical Activities Guidelines outlines the amounts and types of physical activity recommended for different ages and populations. You can download or read the Physical Activity Guidelines book here.
A healthy diet is just as important, and can yield health benefits in the short term and cumulatively over the years. The new edition of the Dietary Guidelines includes specific recommendations for all life stages, now including infants and toddlers, and pregnant and lactating women. Read or download the Dietary Guidelines for Americans book here, to learn how to make food and beverage choices that are rich in nutrition - choices that can become a healthy routine over time that can be enjoyed in good health for many years to come.
MED instead of Meds
Eating like those who live in the Mediterranean region has been shown to promote health and decrease risk of many chronic diseases. K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences agents recently learned more about the diet and its benefits from Dr. Carolyn Dunn, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Department Head of Agricultural and Human Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Dunn is part of a group of nutrition and health professionals that created Med Instead of Meds – an online resource with information and tools to help people transform their eating to the Med Way. You can watch a video of Dr. Dunn discuss the diet here.
More and more of us are working and going to school from home, and it's pretty convenient to go grab a snack from the pantry or fridge! That makes it easy to pack on the pounds, too. But if mindful eating is put in to practice, it will result in healthier habits. The following information was originally published by Michigan State University Extension.
What is mindful eating? According to Psychology Today mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. It helps us become aware of who in the body/heart/mind complex is hungry, and how and what is best to nourish it. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zin, creator and medical researcher, responsible for bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of research says mindful eating:
- Focuses on the present moment
- Focuses on the sensory pleasures of eating through practices of eating slowly, chewing food thoroughly, and stopping between bites.
Mindful Eating has the potential to improve our health and our relationship with food. If you are interested in learning how to be more mindful when eating, consider using the Mindful Eating "BASICS". developed by Dr. Lynn Rossy, Ph.D, Health Psychologist and author of The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution:
- Belly check before you eat - take 5 deep breaths. Notice if you have sensations of hunger. How hungry are you? What are you hungry for? Are you bored or stressed?
- Assess/check out your food - What does your food look like? Notice the colors. Does it look appealing? What does it smell like? Where does it come from - is it natural and unprocessed or highly processed. Is this the food you really want?
- Slow Down (this can help you enjoy your food and be able to tell when the body has had enough) - Try putting your fork or spoon down between bites, pausing and taking a breath between bites, and chewing your food completely.
- Investigate your hunger throughout the meal. Keep bringing your attention back to eating, tasting and assessing your hunger and fullness throughout the meal. Half-way through your meal, you may discover you are no longer hungry even though there's food on your plate. Give yourself permission to stop or to continue eating based on your hunger and fullness cues.
- Chew your food thoroughly. Your body will process the food more efficiently. You will notice your hunger dissipating sooner and a sense of fullness will register in the body. The sooner you are aware of satiety, the less likely you will over eat.
- Savor your food. Take time to choose food you really like and would satisfy you right now. Pick food that honors your body and your taste buds. Be fully present for the experience of eating and taking pleasure int eh experience through your senses.
Click here to learn tips to teach children the art of mindful eating.