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For Release   February 28, 2008
Contact:        Pamela Williams
                      Office of Communications
                      405/271-5601

Nutrition: It’s a Matter of Fact, March is National Nutrition Month ®

Oklahomans are making efforts to “step up to the plate” and take responsibility for their own health by checking the facts and choosing to make healthy food and activity choices. That’s why the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is focusing attention on March’s National Nutrition Month® theme, “Nutrition: It’s a Matter of Fact.”  The campaign is designed to help consumers look beyond nutrition myths and focus on the facts.

The American Dietetic Association has sponsored this annual nutrition education and information campaign since 1973 in response to the public’s growing interest in nutrition.  The OSDH has joined this national campaign each year to help promote healthful eating by providing practical nutrition guidance, focusing attention on making healthy food choices and developing good physical activity habits.

The OSDH encourages all Oklahomans to take the first step toward making healthful food and physical activity choices.  The best nutrition advice is based on science.  Before adopting any changes to your diet, be sure the information is based on scientific fact.

“No single food or meal constitutes a healthful diet. Your overall pattern of eating is the most important focus.  A wide variety of foods can fit within the pattern, if consumed in moderation, in appropriate portions and combined with regular physical activity,” said Secretary of Health and Commissioner of Health Dr. Mike Crutcher.

Today’s food and activity choices have a direct effect on our health, both now and in the future.  Taking a few minutes to check out the facts, then starting to make some small changes, like increasing fruits and vegetables, watching portions, and adding some walking steps during your day, are a great start toward setting the stage for lifelong health.  Visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for some ideas on planning, shopping and preparing fruits and veggies.

In addition, the OSDH and the American Dietetic Association offer the following 10 ideas for improving your nutrition:

1.      Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Use www.MyPyramid.gov to develop a personalized plan for lifelong health. 

2.      The best nutrition advice is based on science. Before adopting any changes to your diet, be sure the information is based in scientific fact.

3.      Get your food and nutrition facts from the expert: a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are uniquely qualified to translate the science of nutrition into reliable advice you can use every day.

4.      Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet is your best recipe for managing weight and promoting overall health and fitness.

5.      Think nutrient-rich rather than “good” or “bad” foods. The majority of your food choices should be packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients – and lower in calories.

6.      Look at the big picture: No single food or meal makes or breaks a healthful diet.  Your total diet is the most important focus for healthful eating.

7.      Prepare, handle and store food properly to keep you and your family safe from food-borne illness.

8.      Don’t fall prey to food myths and misinformation that may harm rather than benefit your health.

9.      Read food labels to get nutrition facts that help you make smart food choices quickly and easily.

10.    Find the healthy fats when making food choices. By choosing polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, you can keep your saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol low.

The Maternal and Child Health Service, Chronic Disease Service, and the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Service of the OSDH invite you to join them on Wednesday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the first floor lobby of the OSDH, 1000 N.E. 10th St., in Oklahoma City to:

•        Take the National Nutrition Month ® 2008 Quiz.

•         Get an update on current nutrition and activity topics.

•         Determine your body mass index (BMI) and learn what it means.

•         Have your questions answered by a registered dietitian.

For more information on making wise nutrition and activity choices, contact a registered dietitian at your local county health department or view these Web sites: www.MyPyramid.gov, www.eatright.org, www.oknutrition.org, www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org, www.strongandhealthy.ok.gov, and http://bis.health.ok.gov.

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