Missoula Measures - Nutrition
Why this topic?
There is strong science supporting the health benefits of eating a healthful diet and maintaining a healthy body weight. The objectives also emphasize that efforts to change diet and weight should address individual behaviors, as well as the policies and environments that support these behaviors in settings such as schools, worksites, health care organizations, and communities.
The goal of promoting healthful diets and healthy weight also encompasses increasing household food security and eliminating hunger.
Americans with a healthful diet:
- Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods within and across the food groups, especially whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products, and lean meats and other protein sources.
- Limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, sodium (salt), and alcohol.
- Limit caloric intake to meet caloric needs.
All Americans should avoid unhealthy weight gain, and those whose weight is too high may also need to lose weight.
Why are nutrition and weight status important?
Diet and body weight are related to health status. Good nutrition is important to the growth and development of children. A healthful diet also helps Americans reduce their risks for many health conditions including:
- Overweight and obesity
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Dyslipidemia (poor lipid profiles)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Oral disease
- Diverticular disease
- Some cancers
Individuals who are at a healthy weight are less likely to:
- Develop chronic disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and dyslipidemia (poor lipid levels).
- Develop chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and some cancers.
- Experience complications during pregnancy.
- Die at an earlier age.
Healthy People 2020
Diabetes, childhood obesity, anorexia / bulimia, and growing up in poverty are all issues that are effected by, or affect, good nutrition.
How are we doing?
A healthy diet consists of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, is high in fiber and low in sugar and saturated fats. Following national trends, Montanans are getting heavier. We consume vast quantities of soda, coffee, sodium, sugar, and fat-laden foods. To make matters worse, many people don’t even recognize the components of a healthy diet, and many of the undernourished are overweight. While many of us overfeed ourselves, other members of our community don’t have enough food. Under such circumstances, a healthy diet is unlikely, and it is most often children who suffer the consequences.
Healthy People 2020 Target
|Adults at a health body weight||31%||34%|
|Adults eating fruit daily - per 1000 calories||0.5 cups||0.9 cups|
|Adults eating vegetables daily - per 1000 calories||0.8 cups||1.1 cups|
The US Dept of Health and
Human Services sponsors the
a science-based, 10-year national plan for improving the health of all Americans.
American adults consume about 36% of their total calories from fat; the Healthy Specific nutrition Information for each high school may be available from the school principal.
While over-eating is more common, purposely not eating enough is also a problem in our society. Anorexia and bulimia are characterized by a persons obsession with being thin. Approximately 3%-7% of young women suffer from this affliction at some point in their lives.
Factors that contribute to these disorders include
- Psychological and personality dynamics such as anxiety, control, perfectionism;
- Family pressure such as an emotional climate of confusion, anxiety, and insecurities;
- Socio-cultural influences such as cultural myths and unrealistic standards.
Some of the physical problems faced by those with an eating disorder include malnutrition, absence of menstrual periods, tooth decay, and osteoporosis.
Poverty greatly affects the quality of nutrition Missoula families receive. Many children and adults have diets restricted to only a few kinds of foods and ingest less than optimal levels of essential nutrients.
Poor diets increase an individual’s susceptibility to minor infections, such as colds, and may hinder functioning at the highest physical, mental, and emotional levels. Young families and those headed by single women are at the greatest risk for hunger.
Just over half of those eligible for WIC (Assistance for Women, Infants, and Children) are aware of and use it. The Montana WIC program estimated that 35,663 infants and children were eligible for services, yet only 20,824 accessed the program.
Barriers to good nutrition
- Poor knowledge of good nutrition
- Family dietary traditions and habits
- Poor recognition of risks associated with poor nutrition
- Difficulty developing healthier eating habits
- Reluctance to try new foods
- Overabundance of access to junk food at check-out lanes in grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores, etc.